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Related to principle: principal
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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

agree in principle

To accept the general terms 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

agreement in principle

An agreement in which the general terms 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

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.

dormitive principle

The repetition of a thought or idea in a more abstract way or in more complex language that does not actually provide an explanation. The idea comes from Molière's The Imaginary Invalid, in which a doctor explains that opium makes people sleepy because it has a "dormitive virtue." (The word "dormitive" describes things capable of inducing sleep.) A: "Why am I dealing with farsightedness all of a sudden?" B: "Because you have hyperopia." A: "Come on, Doc. Don't use a dormitive principle to try to 'explain' something without really saying anything at all."
See also: dormitive, principle

in principle

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.
See also: principle

KISS principle

A phrase encouraging one not to overcomplicate something. "KISS" is an acronym for "Keep It Simple, Stupid." Think of the KISS principle when you're teaching—you don't want to confuse your students. A: "Don't you think we should offer a more elaborate explanation for our users?" B: "No, let's stick to the KISS principle."
See also: kiss, principle

on principle

Guided by, due to, or according to a certain principle. On principle, I never socialize with my students outside of school. I've never read his work, but because of his political statements I dislike him on principle.
See also: on, principle
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
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.

in ˈprinciple

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.
See also: principle

on ˈprinciple

because of your beliefs or ideas about what is right or how people should behave: I quite like meat, but I don’t eat it on principle.
See also: on, principle
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
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.
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References in classic literature ?
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.
The contest embraced within its compass not only theological doctrines, but political principles, and Maurice and Barnevelt were the temporal leaders of the same rival factions, of which Episcopius and Polyander were the ecclesiastical champions.
That the investigation of the fundamental principles of government was deeply implicated in these dissensions is evident from the immortal work of Grotius, upon the rights of war and peace, which undoubtedly originated from them.
This theory results, it must be acknowledged, from principles of reasoning most flattering to the human character.
The original grounds of their separation from the Church of England were not objects of a magnitude to dissolve the bonds of communion, much less those of charity, between Christian brethren of the same essential principles. Some of them, however, were not inconsiderable, and numerous inducements concurred to give them an extraordinary interest in their eyes.
The changes in the forms and principles of religious worship were introduced and regulated in England by the hand of public authority.
The same principles are followed by horticulturists; but the variations are here often more abrupt.
Once more then, O my friend, we have alighted upon an easy question-- whether the soul has these three principles or not?
Must we not acknowledge, I said, that in each of us there are the same principles and habits which there are in the State; and that from the individual they pass into the State?--how else can they come there?
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.
And as for the experiments that others have already made, even although these parties should be willing of themselves to communicate them to him (which is what those who esteem them secrets will never do), the experiments are, for the most part, accompanied with so many circumstances and superfluous elements, as to make it exceedingly difficult to disentangle the truth from its adjuncts- besides, he will find almost all of them so ill described, or even so false (because those who made them have wished to see in them only such facts as they deemed conformable to their principles), that, if in the entire number there should be some of a nature suited to his purpose, still their value could not compensate for the time what would be necessary to make the selection.
These considerations taken together were the reason why, for the last three years, I have been unwilling to publish the treatise I had on hand, and why I even resolved to give publicity during my life to no other that was so general, or by which the principles of my physics might be understood.
And I thought that it was easy for me to select some matters which should neither be obnoxious to much controversy, nor should compel me to expound more of my principles than I desired, and which should yet be sufficient clearly to exhibit what I can or cannot accomplish in the sciences.
Nor have I called them hypotheses with any other end in view except that it may be known that I think I am able to deduce them from those first truths which I have already expounded; and yet that I have expressly determined not to do so, to prevent a certain class of minds from thence taking occasion to build some extravagant philosophy upon what they may take to be my principles, and my being blamed for it.