foundation

noun

foun·​da·​tion fau̇n-ˈdā-shən How to pronounce foundation (audio)
1
: the act of founding
here since the foundation of the school
2
: a basis (such as a tenet, principle, or axiom) upon which something stands or is supported
the foundations of geometry
the rumor is without foundation in fact
3
a
: funds given for the permanent support of an institution : endowment
b
: an organization or institution established by endowment with provision for future maintenance
a trust administered by a foundation
4
: an underlying base or support
especially : the whole masonry substructure of a building
5
a
: a body or ground upon which something is built up or overlaid
a limestone foundation
b
: a woman's supporting undergarment : corset
c
: a cosmetic usually used as a base for makeup
foundationless adjective

Example Sentences

The inspector discovered a crack in the house's foundation. The book explains the moral foundations on which her political career was built. These problems threaten the very foundations of modern society. The scandal has shaken the government to its foundations. They established a foundation to help orphaned children.
Recent Examples on the Web The foundation’s flagship event is the Danny Rumph Classic, a basketball tournament in Philadelphia that began at the gym where Rumph died, which was renamed for him. Kris Rhim, New York Times, 6 Jan. 2023 Bradley believes the foundation is there for the Colts defense to make something happen next season. The Indianapolis Star, 6 Jan. 2023 The foundation of that relationship is what allows Marion’s eventual betrayal of it to feel so poignant and conflicted. Emily Zemler, Los Angeles Times, 27 Dec. 2022 The foundation of China’s zero-Covid policy has been ubiquitous nucleic-acid testing. Simone Gao, WSJ, 20 Dec. 2022 The foundation of your marketing should be educational content. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 19 Dec. 2022 The foundation is among three conservation groups that sued the federal government, alleging that a regulation adopted last year didn’t meet the legal requirements for protecting right whales from getting entangled in gear used to catch lobsters. Laura Crimaldi, BostonGlobe.com, 18 Dec. 2022 Even with the annual distribution requirement, a foundation is potentially immortal. Scott Burns, Dallas News, 18 Dec. 2022 Curtis says the foundation of the table are linens—those guests will be holding cocktail and dinner napkins all night long. Sarah Yang, Sunset Magazine, 13 Dec. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'foundation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English fundacioun, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French fundacion, borrowed from Latin fundātiōn-, fundātiō, from fundāre "to found entry 4" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of foundation was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near foundation

Cite this Entry

“Foundation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/foundation. Accessed 30 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

foundation

noun
foun·​da·​tion fau̇n-ˈdā-shən How to pronounce foundation (audio)
1
: the act of founding
2
: the support upon which something rests
a house with a cinder-block foundation
suspicions with no foundation in fact
3
: funds given for the permanent support of an institution
also : an institution supported by such funds
foundational
-shnəl How to pronounce foundation (audio)
-shən-ᵊl
adjective

Legal Definition

foundation

noun
foun·​da·​tion
1
: a basis upon which something stands or is supported
specifically : a witness's preliminary testimony given to identify or explain evidence being offered at trial and establish its connection to the issue for which it is offered
the lack of any foundation for the orthopedic surgeon's familiarity with the…standard of care rendered the surgeon's opinion testimony inadmissible National Law Journal

Note: Before evidence can be admitted at trial, the foundation for it must be laid by the party offering it. A foundation must also be laid for the qualification of a witness as an expert, or for the assertion of a privilege.

2
a
: funds given for the permanent support of an institution : endowment
b
: an organization or institution established by endowment with provision for future maintenance
foundational adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on foundation

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