principle

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against (one's) principles

In opposition or contrary to one's values or beliefs, such as those of religion, ethics, or ideology. I'm afraid it goes against my principles to vote for a measure that would limit funding for public schools. He told me it's against his principles to drink alcohol.
See also: principle

agreement in principle

An agreement in which the general terms and/or conditions of a deal are accepted without the complete details having been specified or necessarily agreed upon. There was an agreement in principle that the government would cover the cost of building a new school, but so far we haven't seen a clear proposal on how this would be accomplished.
See also: agreement, principle

agree in principle

To accept the general terms and/or conditions of a deal without having completed or agreed upon the specific details. The government has agreed in principle that it will cover the cost of building a new school, but so far we haven't seen a clear proposal on how this would be accomplished.
See also: agree, principle

compromise (with) (one's) principles

To forsake, ignore, or otherwise go against one's fundamental beliefs or virtues. I never thought he would compromise his principles just to get ahead in business like that. Jane felt really guilty about compromising with her principles when she didn't turn her friends into the police after she saw them stealing.

in principle

as a general idea, theory, or belief Members of both parties agreed in principle that some federal dollars should be used to improve election systems.
Usage notes: said about something done without considering details or special situations
Related vocabulary: in theory
See also: principle

on principle

also as a matter of principle
according to a moral rule or personal belief He opposed the death penalty on principle.
See also: on, principle

in principle

Fundamentally, in general, but not necessarily in all particulars. For example, The diplomats accepted the idea in principle but would rely on experts to work out all the details . [Early 1800s]
See also: principle

on principle

1. On moral or ethical grounds. As James Russell Lowell wrote about Alexander Pope in 1871, "There was a time when I could not read Pope, but disliked him on principle." [First half of 1800s]
2. According to a fixed rule or practice. For example, The police were locking up the demonstrators on principle. [First half of 1800s]
3. on general principle. For no special reason, in general, as in Dean won't touch broccoli on general principle. [First half of 1800s]
See also: on, principle

in principle

With regard to the basics: an idea that is acceptable in principle.
See also: principle

on principle

According to or because of principle.
See also: on, principle
References in classic literature ?
Even in our own country there are still philosophers who deny the principles asserted in the Declaration, as self-evident truths--who deny the natural equality and inalienable rights of man--who deny that the people are the only legitimate source of power--who deny that all just powers of government are derived from the consent of the governed.
So far is it from the ordinary habits of mankind to calculate the importance of events in their elementary principles, that had the first colonists of our country ever intimated as a part of their designs the project of founding a great and mighty nation, the finger of scorn would have pointed them to the cells of Bedlam as an abode more suitable for hatching vain empires than the solitude of a transatlantic desert.
It is, however, a more profitable employment to trace the constituent principles of future greatness in their kernel; to detect in the acorn at our feet the germ of that majestic oak, whose roots shoot down to the centre, and whose branches aspire to the skies.
If we resort for a criterion to the different principles on which different forms of government are established, we may define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on, a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure, for a limited period, or during good behavior.
The mode provided by the plan of the convention is not founded on either of these principles.
If selection consisted merely in separating some very distinct variety, and breeding from it, the principle would be so obvious as hardly to be worth notice; but its importance consists in the great effect produced by the accumulation in one direction, during successive generations, of differences absolutely inappreciable by an uneducated eye--differences which I for one have vainly attempted to appreciate.
It may be objected that the principle of selection has been reduced to methodical practice for scarcely more than three-quarters of a century; it has certainly been more attended to of late years, and many treatises have been published on the subject; and the result, I may add, has been, in a corresponding degree, rapid and important.
But the question is not quite so easy when we proceed to ask whether these principles are three or one; whether, that is to say, we learn with one part of our nature, are angry with another, and with a third part desire the satisfaction of our natural appetites; or whether the whole soul comes into play in each sort of action-- to determine that is the difficulty.
The meaning is, I believe, that in the human soul there is a better and also a worse principle; and when the better has the worse under control, then a man is said to be master of himself; and this is a term of praise: but when, owing to evil education or association, the better principle, which is also the smaller, is overwhelmed by the greater mass of the worse--in this case he is blamed and is called the slave of self and unprincipled.
This principle, therefore, prevented him from any thought of making his fortune by such means (for this, as I have said, is an active principle, and doth not content itself with knowledge or belief only).
Glegg's principles, it made the family breach much more difficult to mend; and as to the effect it produced on Mrs.
The principle of "tools to those who can use them" ought to lead him, as it does Plato, to an aristocracy.
I can't help that," the Man of Principle replied, with that lofty scorn of practical considerations distinguishing his species.
and you takes yours on the same ground; wich puts me in mind o' the man as killed his-self on principle, wich o' course you've heerd on, Sir.
He had his hair cut on principle vunce a fortnight, and contracted for his clothes on the economic principle--three suits a year, and send back the old uns.
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