principle ( principles plural )
1 n-var A principle is a general belief that you have about the way you should behave, which influences your behaviour.
usu poss N, adj N, prep N
Buck never allowed himself to be bullied into doing anything that went against his principles..., It's not just a matter of principle., ...a man of principle.
2 n-count The principlesof a particular theory or philosophy are its basic rules or laws.
usu N of n, adj N
...a violation of the basic principles of Marxism...
3 n-count Scientific principles are general scientific laws which explain how something happens or works.
usu adj N, N of n
These people lack all understanding of scientific principles.
4 If you agree with something in principle, you agree in general terms to the idea of it, although you do yet know the details or know if it will be possible.
in principle phrase usu PHR after v
I agree with it in principle but I doubt if it will happen in practice.
5 If something is possible in principle, there is no known reason why it should not happen, even though it has not happened before.
in principle phrase
Even assuming this to be in principle possible, it will not be achieved soon.
6 If you refuse to do something on principle, you refuse to do it because of a particular belief that you have.
on principle phrase usu with brd-neg, PHR after v
He would vote against it on principle...
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"Collins Cobuild English Dictionary for Advanced Learners 4th edition published in 2003 © HarperCollins Publishers 1987, 1995, 2001, 2003 and Collins A-Z Thesaurus 1st edition first published in 1995 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995"