cornerstone

A cornerstone is literally a stone at the corner of a building. It’s an important stone, so it also means “the basic part of something,” as in, the cornerstone of the suffragette movement was getting women the right to vote.

When a building goes up, putting in the cornerstone is a big deal and people celebrate. Many cornerstones are engraved with historical information about the building, such as the year the building was built. The cornerstone is sometimes made of a different material from the rest of the building too. From the sense of "foundation," cornerstone also means "essential element.” If you’re really into Italian food, you might say that pasta is the cornerstone of your diet.

Primary Meanings of cornerstone

1.
n
a stone at the outer corner of two intersecting masonry walls
2.
n
the fundamental assumptions from which something is begun or developed or calculated or explained
Full Definitions of cornerstone
1

n a stone at the outer corner of two intersecting masonry walls

Type of:
stone
building material consisting of a piece of rock hewn in a definite shape for a special purpose

n a stone in the exterior of a large and important building; usually carved with a date and laid with appropriate ceremonies

Type of:
stone
building material consisting of a piece of rock hewn in a definite shape for a special purpose
2

n the fundamental assumptions from which something is begun or developed or calculated or explained

Synonyms:
base, basis, foundation, fundament, groundwork
Types:
meat and potatoes
the fundamental part
Type of:
assumption, supposal, supposition
a hypothesis that is taken for granted

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