essential implies belonging to the very nature of a thing and therefore being incapable of removal without destroying the thing itself or its character.
conflict is essential in drama
fundamental applies to something that is a foundation without which an entire system or complex whole would collapse.
fundamental principles of algebra
vital suggests something that is necessary to a thing's continued existence or operation.
cut off from vital supplies
cardinal suggests something on which an outcome turns or depends.
a cardinal rule in buying a home
Examples of fundamental in a Sentence
The Constitution ensures our fundamental rights.
There's a fundamental difference between these two political parties.
These ideas are of fundamental importance.
The revolution brought about a fundamental change in the country.
We need to make some fundamental changes in the way we do business.
We need to address these problems on a more fundamental level. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
But at a fundamental level, the episode is also a debate over what exactly transpired.—Matt Hamilton, Los Angeles Times, 26 Nov. 2023 While the technology industry is working to deliver quantum advantage in products and services in the near term, academic research remains focused on investigating the fundamental principles underpinning this new science and technology.—Daniel Lidar, Discover Magazine, 23 Nov. 2023 And while sinks are a fundamental bath fixture, vessels offer opportunities for adding color and design elements to the space.—Kristina McGuirk, Better Homes & Gardens, 22 Nov. 2023 Israelis are united as rarely before on a fundamental belief: Any conclusion to the war that leaves Hamas in charge of Gaza would be intolerable.—William A. Galston, WSJ, 21 Nov. 2023 My dad’s murder was as fundamental and as unknowable as my own birth.—Eren Orbey, The New Yorker, 20 Nov. 2023 Managing disagreements Both sides acknowledged that China and the U.S. have fundamental differences, including their approaches to Taiwan, a top priority issue for Beijing.—Ann Scott Tyson, The Christian Science Monitor, 16 Nov. 2023 Still, the movie may well send audiences back to their history books for an explanation of something so fundamental as why the French dictator is warmongering at all.—Peter Debruge, Variety, 15 Nov. 2023 That push could change the way WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, and Threads interact in even more fundamental ways.—David Pierce, The Verge, 14 Nov. 2023
Immerse yourself in courses on AI fundamentals and applications.—William Arruda, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 Reflecting on the dissonance between many of the economy’s fundamentals and consumers’ sour outlook, Richardson was circumspect.—Christine Romans, NBC News, 8 Nov. 2023 Jim Schweitzer Brea :: Lincoln Riley’s teams at USC lack toughness and discipline, struggle with fundamentals, and fail to execute in all three phases.—Los Angeles Times, 28 Oct. 2023 Still, Musk’s wealth is up by more than $70 billion in 2023 alongside a rebound in Tesla shares despite the deteriorating fundamentals.—Jordan Fitzgerald, Fortune, 19 Oct. 2023 Still, there are many fundamentals startups might follow to make a product update as smooth as possible.—Christian Wiklund, Forbes, 13 Nov. 2023 Most of them turn on big fundamentals of economics and people's sense of the world.—Robert Costa, CBS News, 5 Nov. 2023 But current refining methods, which extract useful metals from dirt, depend on fundamentals like gravity, Lange says.—WIRED, 20 Oct. 2023 The Sox, who were seemingly in the playoff hunt until they were swept by the Astros at Fenway at the end of last month, have some talent but lack fundamentals.—Julian McWilliams, BostonGlobe.com, 14 Sep. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fundamental.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English, borrowed from Late Latin fundāmentālis "serving as a foundation," from Latin fundāmentum "foundation, basis" + -ālis-al entry 1 — more at fundament
: the part of a complex wave that has the lowest frequency and commonly the greatest amplitude
Middle English fundamental "serving as a base or source of support," from Latin fundamentalis "of a foundation," from fundamentum "foundation," derived from fundus "bottom, base" — related to foundentry 2, fund