Meaning of FUNDAMENTAL in English

fun ‧ da ‧ men ‧ tal W2 AC /ˌfʌndəˈmentl◂/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Date: 1400-1500 ; Origin: fundament 'basic part' (13-21 centuries) , from Latin fundus ; ⇨ ↑ fund 1 ]

1 . relating to the most basic and important parts of something:

We have to tackle the fundamental cause of the problem.

fundamental change/difference/distinction/shift etc

a fundamental difference in opinion

fundamental mistake/error

Novice programmers sometimes make fundamental errors.

the fundamental principles of liberty and equality

2 . very necessary and important:

fundamental human rights

fundamental to

Water is fundamental to survival.

• • •


■ nouns

▪ a fundamental change

A fundamental change is needed in the voting system.

▪ a fundamental difference

There is no fundamental difference between people of different races.

▪ a fundamental distinction (=a clear difference between two similar things)

A fundamental distinction exists between knowing a fact and understanding it.

▪ a fundamental problem

Charity could not solve the fundamental problem of unemployment.

▪ a fundamental question

To reach a solution several fundamental questions need to be answered.

▪ a fundamental issue

This report raises a number of fundamental issues.

▪ the fundamental reason

The fundamental reason for the project’s failure was the lack of funds.

▪ the fundamental cause

A burst tyre was the fundamental cause of the crash.

▪ a fundamental mistake/error

The government made at least one fundamental mistake when drawing up this legislation.

▪ a fundamental weakness (=fault)

She points out the fundamental weaknesses in his argument.

▪ a fundamental flaw (=fault that makes something imperfect)

There is a fundamental flaw in the current tax system.

▪ fundamental principles (=moral rules or beliefs about what is right and wrong)

Let me state a couple of fundamental principles which we value highly.

■ phrases

▪ something is of fundamental importance (=it is extremely important)

It is of fundamental importance that justice should be seen to be done.

• • •


▪ basic the basic things or information are the ones that are the most necessary, or the ones that you need to know first:

Visit our website for some basic facts about healthy eating, exercise and weight control.


Water – indeed everything basic to life here must be brought in by truck.


people's basic needs

▪ fundamental more important than anything else - used especially when you want to emphasize what you are saying:

The fundamental problem is a lack of resources.


one of the fundamental beliefs of Christianity


These values are fundamental to our society.

▪ essential used when talking about a particular thing or feature, which something must have in order to continue. Also used when talking about the main point, difference etc:

Freedom of the press is essential to our democracy.


Change and diversity are essential characteristics of the natural world.


The essential point is this: either we act now, or the whole future of our planet is uncertain.


One of the essential differences between humans and computers is that humans are more likely to make mistakes.

▪ central very important and having a lot of influence or receiving a lot of attention:

Indonesia occupies a central role in this market.


Education is central to government policy.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.