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I accept as a basic principle that all people are precious and should be treated with equal dignity.
  a basic rule or belief

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principle principles principled unprincipled
Strongly Associated with:   principal, principal-agent problem
The exact meaning of principle is often subject to its context. For example:
  • "our guiding principles" — basic moral beliefs that guide decisions and behavior
  • "electromagnetic principles" — rules describing how the world works
  • "She lacks principles." — lacks moral guidelines
  • "We agree in principle." — about important basic beliefs

Do not confuse this with principal which most commonly refers to something or someone that is most important.
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  • I accept as a basic principle that all people are precious and should be treated with equal dignity.
  • One guiding principle is that everyone should be treated fairly.
  • Our organization has a written list of guiding principles.
  • Basic rocketry principles indicate that our rocket should exceed an altitude of one mile, but we won’t know that it works until we test it.

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  • She lacks principles. Her belief system depends on what advantages her in any given situation.
  • We agree in principle, but there are many details to work out.
  • Hain’t you got no principle at all?"
    Mark Twain  --  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought — that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc — should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words.
    George Orwell  --  1984
  • Several nights a week, after Mr. Jones was asleep, they held secret meetings in the barn and expounded the principles of Animalism to the others.
    George Orwell  --  Animal Farm
  • The sacred principles of Ingsoc.
    George Orwell  --  1984

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  • This, he said, contained the essential principle of Animalism.
    George Orwell  --  Animal Farm
  • In principle a Party member had no spare time, and was never alone except in bed.
    George Orwell  --  1984
  • They explained that by their studies of the past three months the pigs had succeeded in reducing the principles of Animalism to Seven Commandments.
    George Orwell  --  Animal Farm
  • The other farmers sympathised in principle, but they did not at first give him much help.
    George Orwell  --  Animal Farm
  • The lesson — which is also one of the fundamental principles of Ingsoc —
    George Orwell  --  1984
  • Farewell, young lord; these war-like principles Do not throw from you:—and you, my lord, farewell;— Share the advice betwixt you; if both gain all, The gift doth stretch itself as ’tis received, And is enough for both.
    William Shakespeare  --  All’s Well That Ends Well
  • If I had a thousand sons, the first humane principle I would teach them should be, to forswear thin potations and to addict themselves to sack.
    William Shakespeare  --  Henry IV, Part 2
  • As to Mr. Burdovsky, allowing for his principles, we may acknowledge that he engaged in the business with very little personal aim in view.
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky  --  The Idiot
  • They are bred up in the principles of honour, justice, courage, modesty, clemency, religion, and love of their country; they are always employed in some business, except in the times of eating and sleeping, which are very short, and two hours for diversions consisting of bodily exercises.
    Jonathan Swift  --  Gulliver’s Travels
  • I can’t act except from the heart, and you act from principle.
    Leo Tolstoy  --  Anna Karenina
  • Had he felt the need of an implicit faith amid the welter of sectarianism and the jargon of its turbulent schisms, six principle men, peculiar people, seed and snake baptists, supralapsarian dogmatists?
    James Joyce  --  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • Lady Chiltern is a woman of the very highest principles, I am glad to say.
    Oscar Wilde  --  An Ideal Husband
  • I warmed the ale and made the toast on the usual infallible principles.
    Charles Dickens  --  David Copperfield
  • "That’s my principle, too," said my uncle.
    James Joyce  --  Dubliners
  • This was a practical application of the principle that a half-feigned and fictitious faith is better than no faith at all.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Far from the Madding Crowd
  • This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children.
    Charles Dickens  --  Hard Times
  • Principles won’t do.
    Joseph Conrad  --  Heart of Darkness
  • He’s not going to act up to his principles.
    George Bernard Shaw  --  Man And Superman
  • She longed to add, "But of his principles I have"; but her heart sunk under the appalling prospect of discussion, explanation, and probably non-conviction.
    Jane Austen  --  Mansfield Park
  • Though Master Ralph Nickleby was not at that time aware of it, the class of gentlemen before alluded to, proceed on just the same principle in all their transactions.
    Charles Dickens  --  Nicholas Nickleby
  • She must be an unprincipled one, or she could not have used your brother so.
    Jane Austen  --  Northanger Abbey
  • This was the principle on which Anne wanted her father to be proceeding, his friends to be urging him.
    Jane Austen  --  Persuasion
  • The two weak points in our age are its want of principle and its want of profile.
    Oscar Wilde  --  The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Mrs. Glegg did not alter her will in consequence of this letter, and cut off the Tulliver children from their sixth and seventh share in her thousand pounds; for she had her principles.
    George Eliot  --  The Mill on the Floss
  • III ’I told some of you last Thursday of the principles of the Time Machine, and showed you the actual thing itself, incomplete in the workshop.
    H.G. Wells  --  The Time Machine
  • You will have observed that I have acted on that principle.
    Henry James  --  Washington Square
  • For the first time he perceived how elementary his own principles had always been.
    Edith Wharton  --  The Age of Innocence
  • But now find out the Why, the underneath principle.
    Sinclair Lewis  --  Arrowsmith
  • It occasion’d my being more consider’d by Mr. Palmer as a young man of some ingenuity, tho’ he seriously expostulated with me upon the principles of my pamphlet, which to him appear’d abominable.
    Benjamin Franklin  --  The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  • But according to these principles the Grey Friar ought to have left us enough to carry us through our journey.
    Voltaire  --  Candide
  • It must have been linked somehow to a far more complex machine, operating on principles that no-one could imagine, aboard Karellen’s ship.
    Arthur C. Clarke  --  Childhood’s End
  • All your father’s want of principle—be silent!
    Henrik Ibsen  --  A Doll’s House
  • Then, as his planet killed him, it occurred to Kynes that his father and all the other scientists were wrong, that the most persistent principles of the universe were accident and error.
    Frank Herbert  --  Dune
  • Zeena, at any rate, did not apply the principle in her own case.
    Edith Wharton  --  Ethan Frome
  • You declared they were adapted only for men of the strictest principles.
    Henrik Ibsen  --  Hedda Gabler
  • Had they met under different circumstances, neither of these young persons would have been likely to bestow much thought upon the other, unless, indeed, their extreme dissimilarity should have proved a principle of mutual attraction.
    Nathaniel Hawthorne  --  The House of the Seven Gables
  • Hence we accept it and we adopt it, like all the rest of the world, to characterize the architecture of the second half of the Middle Ages, where the ogive is the principle which succeeds the architecture of the first period, of which the semi-circle is the father.
    Victor Hugo  --  The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • But Mr. Eager—he came when I was out, and acted according to his principles.
    E.M. Forster  --  A Room With A View
  • However few people can successfully demonstrate a principle in common ethics when their deliberation is festered with emotionalism.
    Truman Capote  --  In Cold Blood
  • If they talk about dying for principles that are bigger than life you say mister you’re a liar.
    Dalton Trumbo  --  Johnny Got His Gun
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Associated words [difficulty]:   principle [1] , principal [1]
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