Principle vs. Theory

Principle vs. Theory — Is There a Difference?

Difference Between Principle and Theory

Principlenoun

A basic truth, law, or assumption

the principles of democracy.

Theorynoun

A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.

Principlenoun

A rule or standard, especially of good behavior

a man of principle.

Theorynoun

The branch of a science or art consisting of its explanatory statements, accepted principles, and methods of analysis, as opposed to practice

a fine musician who had never studied theory.

Principlenoun

The collectivity of moral or ethical standards or judgments

a decision based on principle rather than expediency.

Theorynoun

A set of theorems that constitute a systematic view of a branch of mathematics.

Principlenoun

A fixed or predetermined policy or mode of action.

Theorynoun

Abstract reasoning; speculation

a decision based on experience rather than theory.

Principlenoun

A basic or essential quality or element determining intrinsic nature or characteristic behavior

the principle of self-preservation.

Theorynoun

A belief or principle that guides action or assists comprehension or judgment

staked out the house on the theory that criminals usually return to the scene of the crime.

Principlenoun

A rule or law concerning the functioning of natural phenomena or mechanical processes

the principle of jet propulsion.

Theorynoun

An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.

Principlenoun

(Chemistry) One of the elements that compose a substance, especially one that gives some special quality or effect.

Theorynoun

(obsolete) Mental conception; reflection, consideration.

Principlenoun

A basic source. See Usage Note at principal.

Theorynoun

(sciences) A coherent statement or set of ideas that explains observed facts or phenomena and correctly predicts new facts or phenomena not previously observed, or which sets out the laws and principles of something known or observed; a hypothesis confirmed by observation, experiment etc.

Principlenoun

A fundamental assumption or guiding belief.

We need some sort of principles to reason from.

Theorynoun

(uncountable) The underlying principles or methods of a given technical skill, art etc., as opposed to its practice.

Principlenoun

A rule used to choose among solutions to a problem.

The principle of least privilege holds that a process should only receive the permissions it needs.

Theorynoun

(mathematics) A field of study attempting to exhaustively describe a particular class of constructs.

Knot theory classifies the mappings of a circle into 3-space.

Principlenoun

Moral rule or aspect.

I don't doubt your principles.You are clearly a person of principle.It's the principle of the thing; I won't do business with someone I can't trust.

Theorynoun

A hypothesis or conjecture.

Principlenoun

(physics) A rule or law of nature, or the basic idea on how the laws of nature are applied.

Bernoulli's PrincipleThe Pauli Exclusion Principle prevents two fermions from occupying the same state.The principle of the internal combustion engine

Theorynoun

A set of axioms together with all statements derivable from them. Equivalently, a formal language plus a set of axioms (from which can then be derived theorems).

A theory is consistent if it has a model.

Principlenoun

A fundamental essence, particularly one producing a given quality.

Many believe that life is the result of some vital principle.

Theorynoun

a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena;

theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypothesestrue in fact and theory

Principlenoun

(obsolete) A beginning.

Theorynoun

a tentative theory about the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena;

a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theoryhe proposed a fresh theory of alkalis that later was accepted in chemical practices

Principlenoun

A source, or origin; that from which anything proceeds; fundamental substance or energy; primordial substance; ultimate element, or cause.

Theorynoun

a belief that can guide behavior;

the architect has a theory that more is lessthey killed him on the theory that dead men tell no tales

Principlenoun

An original faculty or endowment.

Principleverb

(transitive) To equip with principles; to establish, or fix, in certain principles; to impress with any tenet or rule of conduct.

Principlenoun

a basic generalization that is accepted as true and that can be used as a basis for reasoning or conduct;

their principles of composition characterized all their works

Principlenoun

a rule or standard especially of good behavior;

a man of principlehe will not violate his principles

Principlenoun

a basic truth or law or assumption;

the principles of democracy

Principlenoun

a rule or law concerning a natural phenomenon or the function of a complex system;

the principle of the conservation of massthe principle of jet propulsionthe right-hand rule for inductive fields

Principlenoun

rule of personal conduct

Principlenoun

(law) an explanation of the fundamental reasons (especially an explanation of the working of some device in terms of laws of nature);

the rationale for capital punishmentthe principles of internal-combustion engines