principle


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principle

1. a rule or law concerning a natural phenomenon or the behaviour of a system
2. Chem a constituent of a substance that gives the substance its characteristics and behaviour

Principle

 

the basic initial assumption of any theory, teaching, science, world view, or political organization; an individual’s internal conviction, which determines his relationship to reality, behavioral norms, and activity; the basic characteristic of the structure of any mechanism or apparatus.

principle

[′prin·sə·pəl]
(science and technology)
A scientific law which is highly general or fundamental, and from which other laws are derived.
References in classic literature ?
At this day it cannot but strike us as extraordinary, that it does not appear to have occurred to any one member of that assembly, which had laid down in terms so clear, so explicit, so unequivocal, the foundation of all just government, in the imprescriptible rights of man, and the transcendent sovereignty of the people, and who in those principles had set forth their only personal vindication from the charges of rebellion against their king, and of treason to their country, that their last crowning act was still to be performed upon the same principles.
Its incurable disease was an apostasy from the principles of the Declaration of Independence.
From the disorders that disfigure the annals of those republics the advocates of despotism have drawn arguments, not only against the forms of republican government, but against the very principles of civil liberty.
It is evident that no other form would be reconcilable with the genius of the people of America; with the fundamental principles of the Revolution; or with that honorable determination which animates every votary of freedom, to rest all our political experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government.
Were an answer to this question to be sought, not by recurring to principles, but in the application of the term by political writers, to the constitution of different States, no satisfactory one would ever be found.
And this affection he had fixed on the girl long before he could bring himself to attempt the possession of her person: for though his constitution urged him greatly to this, his principles no less forcibly restrained him.
It may be objected that the principle of selection has been reduced to methodical practice for scarcely more than three-quarters of a century; it has certainly been more attended to of late years, and many treatises have been published on the subject; and the result, I may add, has been, in a corresponding degree, rapid and important.
As soon as the points of value of the new sub-breed are once fully acknowledged, the principle, as I have called it, of unconscious selection will always tend,--perhaps more at one period than at another, as the breed rises or falls in fashion,--perhaps more in one district than in another, according to the state of civilisation of the inhabitants--slowly to add to the characteristic features of the breed, whatever they may be.
And does not the same principle hold in the sciences?
The King of Persia also very often reduces the Medes and Babylonians when they assume upon their former power: [1284b] and this is a principle which all governments whatsoever keep in their eye; even those which are best administered, as well as those which are not, do it; these for the sake of private utility, the others for the public good.
And he felt that this fact and what she expected of him called for something not fully defined in that code of principles by which he had hitherto steered his course in life.
But I conceive myself the more bound to husband the time that remains the greater my expectation of being able to employ it aright, and I should doubtless have much to rob me of it, were I to publish the principles of my physics: for although they are almost all so evident that to assent to them no more is needed than simply to understand them, and although there is not one of them of which I do not expect to be able to give demonstration, yet, as it is impossible that they can be in accordance with all the diverse opinions of others, I foresee that I should frequently be turned aside from my grand design, on occasion of the opposition which they would be sure to awaken.