base

noun
\ ˈbās How to pronounce base (audio) \
plural bases\ ˈbā-​səz How to pronounce base (audio) \

Definition of base

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : the bottom of something considered as its support : foundation the base of the mountain the lamp's heavy base
b biology : that part of a bodily organ by which it is attached to another more central structure of the organism the base of the thumb
c architecture
(1) : the lower part of a wall, pier, or column considered as a separate architectural feature
(2) : the lower part of a complete architectural design (as of a monument)
d mathematics
(1) : a side or face (see face entry 1 sense 5a(5)) of a geometrical figure from which an altitude (see altitude sense 1c(1)) can be constructed especially : a side or face on which the figure stands the base of a triangle
(2) : the length of a base determining the triangle's base
2a : a main ingredient paint having a latex base
b : a supporting or carrying ingredient (as of a medicine)
c : a first or bottom layer of something on which other elements are added Overnight, Utah's famous snow has freshly blanketed both runs, adding to a solid base of three feet …— Abby Carroll
3a : the fundamental part of something : groundwork, basis the book's theoretical base her broad base of knowledge
b : something (as a group of people) that reliably provides support (such as for a business or political candidate) usually singular efforts to expand their customer basethe band's fan baseBut I do believe that that's a very sore point with many Democrats and could be used to energize their base.— John McCain
c Marxism : the economic factors on which all legal, social, and political relations are formed
4a : the starting point or line for an action or undertaking plans to make this city his base of operation— J. A. Loftus
b : a baseline in surveying
c : a center or area of operations The company has its base in London. : such as
(1) : a permanent military installation a naval base The troops were ordered back to base.
(2) : the place from which a military force draws supplies
(3) : a place where military operations begin
d linguistics : root sense 6 "Leave" is the base of the verb "left."
e mathematics
(1) : a number (such as 5 in 56.44 or 57) that is raised to a power (see power entry 1 sense 5a) especially : the number that when raised to a power equal to the logarithm of a number yields the number itself The logarithm of 100 to the base 10 is 2 since 102 = 100.
(2) : a number equal to the number of units in a given digit's place (see place entry 1 sense 8) that for a given system of writing numbers is required to give the numeral 1 in the next higher place The decimal system uses a base of 10. also : such a system of writing numbers using an indicated base Convert from base 10 to base 2.
(3) : a number that is multiplied by a rate or of which a percentage or fraction is calculated To find the interest on $90 at 10 percent multiply the base 90 by .10.
5a : any one of the four stations at the corners of a baseball or softball infield allowing the batter to reach base
b in various games : the starting place or goal
c : a point to be considered His opening remarks touched every base.
6 chemistry
a : any of various typically water-soluble and bitter tasting compounds that in solution have a pH greater than 7, are capable of reacting with an acid to form a salt, and are molecules or ions able to take up a proton from an acid or able to give up an unshared pair of electrons to an acid
b : any of the five purine or pyrimidine bases of DNA and RNA that include cytosine, guanine, adenine, thymine, and uracil
7 finance : a price level at which a security (see security sense 3) previously declining in price resists further decline
8 heraldry : the lower part of a heraldic field (see field entry 1 sense 3c)
9 linguistics : the part of a transformational grammar that consists of rules and a lexicon and generates the deep structures of a language
10 : an electrode that modulates the current flowing through a bipolar junction transistor according to the voltage applied to the electrode This gate, which is called a grid in a tube and a base in a transistor, enables a small "controlling" voltage to turn on and off a much larger voltage between the cathode and the anode.— Thom Hartmann — compare gate entry 1 sense 5b
cover all the bases or less commonly cover every base or have (all) one's bases covered
: to do or include everything that needs to be done or included : to fulfill all requirements or necessities The well rounded menu covers all the bases—pork or duck breast and always a grilled chicken with complementary sauces and relishes …— Caroline Bates In other words, we need to cover every base. Too often, something is remembered at the last minute and we find ourselves waiting for the stores to open on sale day so we can purchase a much-needed item.— Sue Story In your e-mail, let the company know that, for their convenience, you're e-mailing the resume and letter, but that the original documents will arrive by postal service. This way you've got all your bases covered.— Peter Post
off base
1 : wrong, mistaken Estimates were way off base.
2 : unawares caught off base by the charges
touch all the bases or less commonly touch every base
1 : to mention every subject that needs to be considered a speech that touches all the bases
2 : to do or include everything that needs to be done or included : to fulfill all requirements or necessities need to touch all the bases when applying for a mortgage The owner of the Utah Stars is in Salt Lake City, working 24 hours a day in an effort to touch every base to keep his club in Utah's capital city.— Dan Pattison

base

verb
based; basing

Definition of base (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to find a foundation or basis for : to find a base (see base entry 1 sense 3a) for usually used with on or upon base an opinion on faulty informationa story based upon real-life events
2 : to make, form, or serve as a base for … great roots based the tree columns …— George Macdonald the company is based in London clients who are based out of their homes

Definition of base (Entry 3 of 4)

1a : lacking or indicating the lack of higher qualities of mind or spirit : ignoble seemed a base betrayal of idealism— L. M. Sears appealing to a person's baser instincts
b : lacking higher values : degrading a drab base way of life
2a : being of comparatively low value and having relatively inferior properties (such as lack of resistance to corrosion) a base metal such as iron — compare noble entry 1
b : containing a larger than usual proportion of base metals base silver denarii
3 feudalism
a : resembling a villein : servile a base tenant
b : held by villenage base tenure
4 archaic : of little height … the cedar stoops not to the base shrub's foot …— Shakespeare
5 archaic : baseborn base in kind and born to be a slave.— William Cowper
6 obsolete : low in place or position … fall to the base earth from the firmament!— Shakespeare
7 obsolete : bass

Definition of base (Entry 4 of 4)

1 : constituting or serving as a base This situation is frequently encountered by seaplane pilots in northern Canada who must fly over lakes and tundra to a base camp located on a river.— Alan Lopez
2 : of the simplest or most basic design or form : having the form of something before upgrades or customization This GTO's 350-hp, 5.7-liter V8 is the same that's used in the base Corvette, and it produces the power and throaty exhaust sound of a classic muscle car.Consumer Reports

Illustration of base

Illustration of base

Noun

base of a column: 1 upper torus, 2 scotia, 3 lower torus, 4 plinth, 5 shaft, 6 fillets

In the meaning defined above

Other Words from base

Noun

baseless \ ˈbā-​sləs How to pronounce base (audio) \ adjective

Adjective (1)

basely adverb
baseness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for base

Adjective (1)

base, low, vile mean deserving of contempt because of the absence of higher values. base stresses the ignoble and may suggest cruelty, treachery, greed, or grossness. base motives low may connote crafty cunning, vulgarity, or immorality and regularly implies an outraging of one's sense of decency or propriety. refused to listen to such low talk vile, the strongest of these words, tends to suggest disgusting depravity or filth. a vile remark

Examples of base in a Sentence

Noun the firm belief that complete trust between husband and wife is the base of any successful marriage the army's base of attack was kept top secret until the battle began Verb They are going to base their new company in Seattle. The company has based itself in London. Our tour group based itself in a hotel in the heart of the city. Adjective (1) Iron is a base metal. a base and sneaky act that is a clear violation of international law See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun An induction-ready piece of cookware will have a base made out of a magnetic material, like iron. Nicole Papantoniou, Good Housekeeping, 20 May 2022 This warm and spicy fragrance combines orange flower, clove oil, and chestnut atop a comforting vanilla base to recreate a childhood memory of the warmth and coziness of roaring fire on a cool, winter day. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 20 May 2022 The long water slide has a safe landing area that’s sectioned off away from where other kids are playing, plus the climbing wall has a base with extra cushioning. Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, 20 May 2022 Viktoria Dorn singled, stole a base and scored the other run for Severna Park, which finished with five hits. Baltimore Sun, 20 May 2022 This skill may take a little knowledge of behavioral psychology, but understanding a client's tone, choice of words, responses, mood and patience can give a secure base for creating a positive experience for most clients. Yec, Forbes, 20 May 2022 Amazon typically releases a slew of products at the annual event, some of which don’t ever make it to a widespread consumer base. Sebastian Herrera, WSJ, 19 May 2022 Moneybagg himself was about six mixtapes in and had built a considerable fan base in his native Memphis when the group broke up. Neena Rouhani, Billboard, 19 May 2022 The report at the center of the previous UFO hearing, in the late 1960s, found that the lights observed over a military base were birds and weather conditions. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, 19 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This is especially important during a time when more than 50 percent of travelers base their plans on places that can accommodate pets, according to survey data from the company. Patrick Connolly, Orlando Sentinel, 15 May 2022 The climber had completed setting ropes on the peak and was descending to base camp when he was buried by the slide just below 20,000 feet. Frederick Dreier, Outside Online, 9 May 2022 Team members are all in it together—so much so that agile organizations often base rewards not only on individual performance, but team performance as well. Deborah Lovich, Forbes, 27 Apr. 2022 Some people base their vacations around art museums and natural wonders. Christina Tkacik, Baltimore Sun, 25 Apr. 2022 Schools must also base special fees for online courses at state colleges and universities on the actual cost borne by the school. Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland, 21 Apr. 2022 Many linguists base their determination of language-or-dialect on whether forms of speech are mutually understandable. Joshua Holzer, The Conversation, 18 Apr. 2022 Typically, investors would base their valuation of Russian debt on whether or not it will be repaid, and the likelihood that it would be repaid would depend on the strength and durability of the Russian economy, but that’s not happening. Nicole Goodkind, CNN, 9 Apr. 2022 The statisticians base the ranking on data from the Gallup World Poll and several other factors, including levels of GDP, life expectancy and more. Laura Begley Bloom, Forbes, 18 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The 30-year-old Swiss international, who joined the Fire this season from Lyon, has a base salary of $7.35 million and total compensation of $8,153,000, according to figures the Major League Soccer Players Association released Tuesday. Ronald Blum, Chicago Tribune, 17 May 2022 The 30-year-old Swiss international, who joined Chicago this season from Lyon, has a base salary of $7.35 million and total compensation of $8,153,000, according to figures released Tuesday by the Major League Soccer Players Association. Ronald Blum, ajc, 17 May 2022 That player is Obinna Nwobodo, with a base salary of $900,000 and a total compensation package of $1,028,100. Pat Brennan, The Enquirer, 17 May 2022 His new contract started him off with a $5 million signing bonus and a base salary of $1.45 million for the 2022 season. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, 12 May 2022 The board’s current offer, which would run through 2026, includes a base salary of $30,650 for 30 weeks of work and would include raises. Deborah Martin, San Antonio Express-News, 11 May 2022 Robinson’s contract pays him a base salary of $325,000 over the next five years. Terry Pluto, cleveland, 8 Apr. 2022 That compares with a base salary of $470,000 and a bonus of $265,068 in 2020. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Apr. 2022 And they were robbed of a couple potential extra-base hits by diving catches from Pirates outfielders. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, 9 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'base.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of base

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1c(1)

Verb

1587, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Adjective (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Adjective (2)

1734, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for base

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin basis, from Greek, step, base, from bainein to go — more at come

Verb

verbal derivative of base entry 1

Adjective (1)

Middle English bas, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin bassus fat, short, low

Learn More About base

Time Traveler for base

Time Traveler

The first known use of base was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near base

bascule escapement

base

base angle

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for base

Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Base.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/base. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for base

base

noun
\ ˈbās How to pronounce base (audio) \

Kids Definition of base

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a thing or a part on which something rests : bottom, foundation the base of a statue the base of the mountain
2 : a starting place or goal in various games
3 : any of the four stations a runner in baseball must touch in order to score
4 : the main place or starting place of an action or operation The company's base is in New York.
5 : a place where a military force keeps its supplies or from which it starts its operations an air force base
6 : a line or surface of a geometric figure upon which an altitude is or is thought to be constructed base of a triangle
7 : the main substance in a mixture
8 : a number with reference to which a system of numbers is constructed
9 : a chemical substance (as lime or ammonia) that reacts with an acid to form a salt and turns red litmus paper blue

base

verb
based; basing

Kids Definition of base (Entry 2 of 3)

: to use as a main place of operation or action The company is based in Ohio.
base on or base upon
: to make or form from a starting point It's based on a true story.

base

adjective
baser; basest

Kids Definition of base (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : of low value and not very good in some ways base metals
2 : not honorable "I'll appeal to his baser instincts, of which he has plenty."— E. B. White, Charlotte's Web

base

noun
\ ˈbās How to pronounce base (audio) \
plural bases\ ˈbā-​səz How to pronounce base (audio) \

Medical Definition of base

1 : that portion of a bodily organ or part by which it is attached to another more central structure of the organism the base of the thumb
2a : the usually inactive ingredient of a preparation serving as the vehicle for the active medicinal preparation the fatty base of an ointment
b : the chief active ingredient of a preparation

called also basis

3a : any of various typically water-soluble and bitter tasting compounds that in solution have a pH greater than 7, are capable of reacting with an acid to form a salt, and are molecules or ions able to take up a proton from an acid or are substances able to give up an unshared pair of electrons to an acid — compare alkali
b : any of the five purine or pyrimidine bases of DNA and RNA that include cytosine, guanine, adenine, thymine, and uracil
4 : freebase

Other Words from base

based \ ˈbāst How to pronounce base (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on base

Nglish: Translation of base for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of base for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about base

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