Definition of fundamental in English:



  • 1Forming a necessary base or core; of central importance.

    ‘the protection of fundamental human rights’
    ‘interpretation of evidence is fundamental to the historian's craft’
    • ‘The public are entitled to play a meaningful role within the planning system and granting ‘third-party rights of appeal’ is fundamental to achieving this.’
    • ‘Le Terroir, the all-important combination of climate, soil, and grape variety that are fundamental to the creation of champagne, is considered unique.’
    • ‘So to the extent we're talking about natural plant communities developing, then that's just one of those processes which is fundamental to the National Parks system.’
    • ‘But the issue in California, because Hispanics are so integrated and so fundamental to the society of California, indeed the entire country.’
    • ‘Some of my concerns are fairly fundamental to the voting process and the secrecy of voting.’
    • ‘He said: ‘Many people think the removal of the fence is fundamental to the success of any dialogue.’’
    • ‘‘Improving the infrastructure is fundamental to improving our image in order to make the show ground a place where people really want to come,’ said Mr Vincent.’
    • ‘And yet, human interaction is fundamental to our existence and the ability to communicate with clarity and understanding is a vitally important skill.’
    • ‘Freedom of belief (note the Western turn of phrase) is fundamental to human rights, and it was Islam that first proclaimed this value.’
    • ‘Although the stunt was deliberately daft, the point was fundamental to the legal argument the group's activists have used hundreds of times in tiny district courts in Helensburgh and Dumbarton.’
    • ‘Not since 1947, when the strategy for containing the Soviet Union was designed, have matters so fundamental to American grand strategy been up for grabs.’
    • ‘Because multiculturalism is fundamental to our mission it needs to be present in both places.’
    • ‘Said Donohue: ‘It is about something so fundamental to what we do here at the chamber that we can't walk away from it.’’
    • ‘This is fundamental to human rights and the application of international law.’
    • ‘Building local social connections and informal support is fundamental to preventing child abuse and neglect and to building resilience in children and vulnerable families.’
    • ‘Stock options and corporate bonuses are no more fundamental to the achievement of scientific advance than were Soviet medals and patriotic exhortations.’
    • ‘The appearance of the Social Democrats Movement less than a year ago introduced a few points, which are fundamental to their attitude towards the country's political scene.’
    • ‘So it's very important that brands do become a part of event-based TV, because they're fundamental to us creating event-based TV.’
    • ‘The rhythms and forms of Yoruba religion are said to be fundamental to the development of many types of African-American music, from gospel to blues and jazz, as well as salsa and Latin jazz.’
    basic, foundational, rudimentary, elemental, elementary, underlying, basal, radical, root
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    1. 1.1 Affecting or relating to the essential nature of something or the crucial point about an issue.
      ‘the fundamental problem remains that of the housing shortage’
      • ‘Justice, integrity and trust in fundamental institutions are essential social assets and social capital is as important as economic prosperity.’
      • ‘Such an interference by a local authority with the right of a person to pursue his livelihood without express statutory sanction raises an issue of fundamental principle.’
      • ‘A lot has changed environ-mentally since then, he added, but fundamental issues and human nature have remained the same.’
      • ‘It is our hope that their legacies will not be tarnished by an inconsistent stand on the conflict between science and religion, an issue of fundamental importance to all mankind.’
      • ‘What is not a matter of such estimation for me, but rather an issue of fundamental principle, is that of whether I can belong to an organization publicly committed to an anti-Semitic policy.’
      • ‘Most important of all, there is a fundamental misreading of the nature of the relationships at work here.’
      • ‘It was further inflated by fundamental changes to the nature of the exam, which critics say were designed to ensure that pass rates continued to rise.’
      • ‘The contents offer a crucial test for theories describing the fundamental nature of matter and energy.’
      • ‘Does not this correspondence constitute the fundamental trait of our nature?’
      • ‘An optical switch is one of several essential elements of fundamental technology required for optical signal processing in photonic networks of the future.’
      • ‘However, the two underlying fundamental principles that are essential for good design are either frangibility or non-penetration with controlled redirection.’
      • ‘Homeyer's organic vision stems from his childhood love of ‘dirt and plants and growing things’ and is rooted in a fundamental respect of nature.’
      • ‘However, the YWCA has moved a step beyond this traditional focus in addressing some of the fundamental issues affecting women's lives.’
      • ‘And having achieved his narrow victory, the famous flip-flop on fundamental issues was second nature to Vajpayee.’
      • ‘This is an issue of the most fundamental importance - treating all human beings with dignity.’
      • ‘For Democrats, it's an issue of fundamental importance and core values.’
      • ‘Schrum, despite her lapses in thinking, has a number of interesting points on the pedagogical decisions necessary about the fundamental nature of an online course.’
      • ‘Some theoretical issues and fundamental material problems remain, however.’
      • ‘Being able to go car shopping the way the majority of the population goes fruit shopping means that there are certain fundamental issues affecting this majority that these rulers know of only in theory.’
      • ‘These are also the most thorny and fundamental issues affecting Taiwan's management of cross-strait trade and economic relations over the past decade.’
      crucial, vital, essential, of the essence, all-important, important, of the utmost importance, of great consequence, high-priority, paramount, pre-eminent, key, pivotal, deciding, decisive, climacteric, momentous
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    2. 1.2 So basic as to be hard to alter, resolve, or overcome.
      ‘the theories are based on a fundamental error’
      • ‘To my knowledge it's the only commercial product in the world that actually has resolved that fundamental problem.’
      • ‘I mean, I really think is one of the basic problems here, is there's a fundamental difference.’
      • ‘It is this fundamental difference in approach to evaluating tests that frames much of the debate about the Rorschach.’
      • ‘But it is when the violence ends that this fundamental difference of approach during the war creates an intrinsic problem.’
      • ‘It is no good using an advertising campaign to overcome fundamental faults in the design of the Pension Credit.’
      • ‘It was this that led to Descartes's fundamental error - the reversal of the basic truth that the first operation of the mind has only real things for its object.’
      • ‘With its aim of containing the conflict rather than resolving it, the peace process draws the political parties into a dialogue without resolving any big political questions or fundamental differences.’
      • ‘This fear is so fundamental that it overcame other basic Australian traits - compassion, a helping hand, a fair go.’
      • ‘And I think that's a very fundamental difference and approach to government between the two parties.’
      • ‘Thus his use of Hroch and Anderson on nationalism elides the fundamental difference between two approaches to the study of nationalism.’
      • ‘After talks on the Treaty broke down in December, there was widespread pessimism that fundamental differences could not be overcome in the short term.’
      • ‘There were, in our respectful submission, some fundamental errors in the approach of the Full Court and I just wish to summarise those, without taking up too much of the time of the Court.’
      • ‘There are little fundamental differences between the two sects and the basic teachings are those of Mahavira for both sects.’
      • ‘But for all the bravado of his pre-budget speech, there was arguably little that Brown could have said to resolve the fundamental contradiction at the heart of his vision for Britain.’
      • ‘You are hard pressed to assert a fundamental error in circumstances in which counsel seem to think nothing of it.’
      • ‘In doing so, he has never tried to resolve the fundamental difference of opinion between the opposing wings of his party.’
      • ‘This focuses us on the fundamental difference in approach between the Palestinians and the Israelis.’
      • ‘First, and foremost, they submit that there was a fundamental error in the approach adopted by the Inspector to the question whether or not use was as of right or by permission.’
      • ‘He becomes an of people, and this is a very basic fundamental error.’
      • ‘This is a superficial examination as these decisions often turn on the precise facts of the case but regardless of the precise details this appears to represent a fundamental difference of approach.’


  • 1usually fundamentalsA central or primary rule or principle on which something is based.

    ‘two courses cover the fundamentals of microbiology’
    • ‘It is relevant if we stick to the fundamentals, if we interpret them correctly.’
    • ‘This basics course touches on the fundamentals of retirement plans, education savings plans and more.’
    • ‘Even when I was training, the emphasis was always on the basics and fundamentals.’
    • ‘The young ladies were taught much more than fundamentals, rules and regulations of the game.’
    • ‘It was interesting just seeing how the nitty gritty fundamentals of business works.’
    • ‘Because all that we say and all that we do is based on those fundamentals.’
    • ‘Without arguing, how can you possibly explore the fundamentals of an idea?’
    • ‘A return to these fundamentals could be the bedrock of a true religious resurgence.’
    • ‘Teaches fundamentals of programming including principles of structured code and top-down design.’
    • ‘I sit up in the stands with the rest of the team and get a crash course in the game's fundamentals.’
    • ‘This book presents fundamentals of conflict resolution and peer mediation in schools.’
    • ‘The economic fundamentals suggest that the rupiah is way undervalued.’
    • ‘This textbook takes a unified view of the fundamentals of wireless communication and explains the web of concepts underpinning these advances at a level accessible to an audience with a basic background in probability and digital communication.’
    • ‘But good ideas backed by sound fundamentals will usually get a good hearing.’
    • ‘Islam's fundamentals are based on some eternal truths that can easily cope with peripheral polarities.’
    • ‘It has style and feeling but does not sacrifice the fundamentals of a polished presentation.’
    • ‘While in Guyana, Tambling taught a course on the fundamentals of health.’
    • ‘Of course, if the fundamentals of the business have deteriorated I can walk away with just half the losses.’
    • ‘This ratio adds a market value dimension to the model that isn't based on pure fundamentals.’
    • ‘Women play more of a team game based on fundamentals, execution, and good shooting.’
    basics, essentials, rudiments, foundations, basic principles, first principles, preliminaries
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  • 2Music
    A fundamental note, tone, or frequency.

    • ‘The second harmonic from the external resonator could be synchronously scanned with the fundamental.’
    • ‘The beating between adjacent harmonics causes the brain to ‘hear’ the non-existent fundamental.’
    • ‘The standing wave with the longest wavelength is called the fundamental; the overtone number keeps count of the number of half-wavelengths.’
    • ‘In the Hammond organ, the fundamental and up to eight harmonics were available and were controlled by means of drawbars and preset keys or buttons.’
    • ‘I have been interested in the harmonic series in general and in the interaction of two harmonic series based on two fundamentals.’


Late Middle English: from French fondamental, or late Latin fundamentalis, from Latin fundamentum, from fundare ‘to found’.