Meaning of FUNDAMENTAL in English


I. |fəndə|ment ə l adjective

Etymology: Middle English, from Late Latin fundamentalis of a foundation, from Latin fundamentum + -alis -al

1. : producing, supporting, regulating, or conditioning something (as a development or system) : basic , underlying — often used with to

responsibility is fundamental to democracy

a. : serving as an original or generating source : being the one from which others are derived : primary

the chronicle is the fundamental account of the era from which all later historians drew

: formative

the various theories developed from that fundamental idea

b. : serving as a basis supporting existence or determining essential structure or function : forming the foundation on which something immaterial is built

the productivity fundamental to a sound economy

the fundamental rules governing all scientific experiments

c. : constituting a necessary or elemental quality, part, or condition : indispensable

American business sagacity had been fundamental in that triumph — Bernard DeVoto

: irreducible

considered the atom the fundamental unit of matter


a. : of or extending or relating to essential structure, function, or facts : going to the root of the matter

naïve as the child's questions may sound, they are fundamental — W.K.Livingstone

: radical

distinguish fundamental from superficial differences

monarchy had undergone fundamental changes beneath its continuing forms

: elementary

less fundamental and general instruction and more advanced and specialized study

specifically : of or dealing with general principles (as of a chemical or electrical process) rather than practical application : pure

fundamental science

b. : concerned with fundamentals (as of life or religion) ; specifically : fundamentalist

replace modernist with fundamental Bible lessons

a preacher who is evangelical, Bible-teaching, and fundamental

3. : serving as or employing an arbitrarily established standard, reference point, or basis of reckoning

fundamental units of measurement

taking the equator as the fundamental circle


a. of a musical chord or its position : having the root in the bass

b. : of, relating to, or produced by the lowest component of a complex vibration

5. : being or constituting the lowest geological formation : basal

the fundamental gneiss of the British isles

6. : of central importance : principal

lost sight of his fundamental purpose in the pursuit of secondary aims

: vital

such fundamental events as birth, marriage, and death

7. : forming a sustained or recurring element : serving as a background or starting point

used black jute as the fundamental material with patterns in colored thread

in the fundamental position the boxer's right arm is leading, his left guarding

specifically : forming the underlying pattern or image in a work of art

the conductor feels … doubt as to whether he should beat auxiliary beats or fundamental beats — Warwick Braithwaite

obscures the fundamental image of his poem with ornate metaphor

8. : belonging to one's innate or ingrained characteristics : deep-rooted

fatigue nor worry nor professordom could extinguish his fundamental gaiety — John Mason Brown

Synonyms: see essential

II. noun

( -s )

1. : something fundamental ; especially : one of the minimum constituents without which a thing would not be what it is or on which all further development is founded — often used in plural

reading, writing, spelling, and arithmetic are fundamentals of education


a. : the prime tone of any given harmonic series that gives the heard pitch of the tone sounded — compare overtone

b. : the root of a chord

3. : the harmonic component of a complex vibration or wave train (as a sound wave) that has the lowest frequency and commonly the greatest amplitude

Synonyms: see principle

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.