Phrase meaning and origin

Posted by Lewis on September 11, 2003

In Reply to: Phrase meaning and origin posted by Henry on September 10, 2003

: : Could someone tell me what the phrase, "agreement in principle" means, what its orgins are, and how it is commonly used?

: Two people who have discussed a contract and are broadly happy with the terms have reached agreement in principle. They expect to agree the remaining details and sign the contract in due course.

It is important to note that something "agreed in principle" is subject to the detail being worked out and often such generally expressed agreements fail because "the devil is in the detail" and a failure to reach consensus over the detailed working out of a broad approach can prevent that broad agreement becoming binding.

So something 'agreed in principle' is not usually binding.