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Generally, without regard to 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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1 according to the general principles or theory: In principle the machine should work in any climate, but we haven’t actually tried it out abroad yet.
2 in general but not necessarily in detail: In principle I agree with you, but I’m not sure that it’s the most effective solution to the problem.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
With regard to the basics: an idea that is acceptable in principle.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.