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 At top, chaplain Denys Kravchuk and Ukrainian service members attending one of his services at their Zaporizhzhia base. Washington Post, 7 May 2022 Some Republicans seem to be resurfacing these false stereotypes as a political tool to rile up their base and further marginalize LGBTQ people, experts say. Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, 7 May 2022 His loyal base has rallied behind Mr. Marcos and Ms. Duterte-Carpio, putting them on firm footing to succeed him. Feliz Solomon, WSJ, 6 May 2022 What are your further expansion plans within India to increase your subscriber base? Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 6 May 2022 According to Damera, despite its India heritage, the US is its largest market accounting for 30% of its student base, followed by India at 20%, Latin America at 18% and Southeast Asia at 12%. Bruce Rogers, Forbes, 6 May 2022 Tipico is still growing its base of operation in Colorado — home of the Western Conference's top-seeded Avalanche. Lance Pugmire, USA TODAY, 5 May 2022 With his reconstituted Republican base, Reagan won two eye-popping landslide elections for president in a row. Natalie Shure, The New Republic, 5 May 2022 The piece, showed her as the fearless right hand and personal secretary of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (also known as Osho), founder of the Rajneesh movement, which attracted devotees from around the world to its base in the Oregon desert. Jessie Lau For Cnn, CNN, 5 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Seven judges base their scores 60% on mogul turn technique, 20% on speed and 20% on the quality of the jumps. Lori Nickel, USA TODAY, 6 Feb. 2022 Others base their claims on studies in which only one or two pregnancies actually had the condition in question. New York Times, 1 Jan. 2022 One of them is Senate Bill 830, which would base state funding on enrollment, rather than attendance, and give districts additional funding to use on addressing chronic absenteeism. Kristen Taketa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 In his last nine games, Giménez is batting .412 with four extra-base hits and nine RBI while hitting .600 with runners in scoring position and two outs on the season. Joe Noga, cleveland, 8 May 2022 The 39-year-old also boasts 1,119 extra-base hits, tying him with George Brett for 18th in MLB history. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 1 May 2022 Wander Franco tied for the AL lead with 11 extra-base hits through Sunday. Jesse Yomtov, USA TODAY, 25 Apr. 2022 Hernandez struggled in 19 plate appearances, going 2-for-16 without any extra-base hits. Theo Mackie, The Arizona Republic, 22 Apr. 2022 Suarez, a southpaw, gave up 11 hits and only two extra-base hits in 101 at-bats against lefties last season. Curt Hogg, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 22 Apr. 2022 Senior Armani Newton has 12 extra-base hits for John Carroll, which ranks No. 8 overall in Class 2A. Orlando Sentinel, 19 Apr. 2022 Pham and Moustakas are a combined 5-for-63 with no extra-base hits and 2 RBI. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, 18 Apr. 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

11 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Base.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/base. Accessed 17 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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