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From Middle English foundacioun, fundacioun, from Old French fondacion, from Latin fundātiō (founding, foundation).



foundation (countable and uncountable, plural foundations)

  1. The act of founding, fixing, establishing, or beginning to erect.
    Synonym: establishment
    Antonyms: abolition, dissolution, ruination
    The foundation of his institute has been wrought with difficulty.
  2. That upon which anything is founded; that on which anything stands, and by which it is supported; the lowest and supporting layer of a superstructure; underbuilding.
    Synonyms: basis, groundwork, underbuilding, underframework
    • 1777, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The School for Scandal, IV.iii:
      Aye Madam to be sure that is the Provoking circumstance—without Foundation—yes yes—there's the mortification indeed—for when a slanderous story is believed against one—there certainly is no comfort like the consciousness of having deserved it——
    • 2013 July 20, “The attack of the MOOCs”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
      Since the launch early last year of […] two Silicon Valley start-ups offering free education through MOOCs, massive open online courses, the ivory towers of academia have been shaken to their foundations. University brands built in some cases over centuries have been forced to contemplate the possibility that information technology will rapidly make their existing business model obsolete.
  3. (figurative) The result of the work to begin something; that which stabilizes and allows an enterprise or system to develop.
    Synonyms: groundwork, platform, stage
    • 2006, K P Yadav, Economic Planning And Restructuring, Sarup & Sons, →ISBN, page 44:
      The implication is that the Gandhian model of growth is possible, now that Nehru's investment strategy had already laid a strong foundation for economic growth.
  4. (card games) In solitaire or patience games, one of the piles of cards that the player attempts to build, usually holding all cards of a suit in ascending order.
  5. (architecture) The lowest and supporting part or member of a wall, including the base course and footing courses; in a frame house, the whole substructure of masonry.
    Synonyms: base, groundwall
    The foundations of this construction have been laid out.
  6. A donation or legacy appropriated to support a charitable institution, and constituting a permanent fund; endowment.
  7. That which is founded, or established by endowment; an endowed institution or charity.
    The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is the parent organization of the Wiktionary collaborative project.
  8. (cosmetics) Cosmetic cream roughly skin-colored, designed to make the face appear uniform in color and texture.
  9. A basis for social bodies or intellectual disciplines.
    • 2013 August 3, “Boundary problems”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8847:
      Economics is a messy discipline: too fluid to be a science, too rigorous to be an art. Perhaps it is fitting that economists’ most-used metric, gross domestic product (GDP), is a tangle too. [] But as a foundation for analysis it is highly subjective: it rests on difficult decisions about what counts as a territory, what counts as output and how to value it. Indeed, economists are still tweaking it.

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