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Evidence of confusion between principle and principal can be found even in publications overseen by professional editors. To keep these words straight, remember that principle functions only as a noun, and in its most common uses refers to a basic rule or law, as in
If you are looking for an adjective form of this word, you must use principled, as in
Principal functions as both a noun and an adjective. The noun has various meanings referring to someone with controlling authority
or in a leading position
, but also has meanings relating to finance, law, and architecture. As an adjective, principal typically means "most important," as in
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'principal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.