FOUNDATION (Lat. fundatio, from fundare, to found), the act of building, constituting or instituting on a permanent basis; especially the establishing of any institution by endowing or providing it with funds for its continual maintenance. The word is thus applied also to the institutions so established, such as a college, monastery or hospital; and the terms "on the foundation," or "foundationer," are used of members of such a college or society who enjoy, as fellows, scholars, etc., the benefits of the endowment. Formerly "foundation" also meant the charter or incorporation of any such institution or society, and it is still applied to the funds used for the endowment of such institutions.
The terms "old foundation" and "new foundation" used in connexion with the organizing of English cathedral chapters have no reference to the age of the cathedrals. At the time of the Reformation under Henry VIII. the old college chapters were left unchanged, and are referred to as the "old foundations," but the monastic chapters were all suppressed, consequently new chapters had to be formed for their cathedrals and these constitute the "new foundations."
"Foundation" also means the base (natural or artificial) on which any erection is built up; generally made below the level of the ground (see Foundations below). A foundation-stone is one of the stones at the base of a building, generally a corner-stone, frequently laid with a public ceremony to celebrate the commencement of the building. The term is also applied to the ground-work of any structure, such as, in dress-making, the underskirt over which the real skirt is hung, any material used for stiffening purposes, as "foundation muslin or net." In knitting or crochet the first stitches onto which all the rest are worked are called the "foundation chain." In gem-cutting the "foundation-square" is the first of eight squares round the edges of a brilliant made in bevel planes and from which the angles are all removed to form three-corner facets.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)