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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Commuters emerge from Grand Central station in New York in the shadow of the Park Avenue base of JPMorgan Chase. The Economist, "The future of banking A future with fewer banks," 8 May 2021 One segment of the fan base remains especially dear to Bradley. Edgar Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "For better or worse, NCAA transfer portal has forever changed college basketball," 8 May 2021 The weather is so bad that, even as divert airfield—a sort of safety base for passing planes—Eareckson is only marginally useful. David Axe, Forbes, "A Cold, Foggy U.S. Air Force Base Waits Just 200 Miles From Russia," 7 May 2021 This new collection was inspired by inclusivity and is targeted towards the diverse makeup of Zara’s customer base. Nandi Howard, Essence, "Zara Debuts Its First-Ever Beauty Collection," 5 May 2021 The Times reports led to the dismissal two years ago of the top general in the Air Guard and the commander of the Fresno base. Shelby Grad Deputy Managing Editor, Los Angeles Times, "Essential California: What’s going on with the National Guard?," 5 May 2021 And, thanks to the efforts of a devoted fan base and the movie machine behind the series alike, May 4 is just the day to do it. Gregory Mcnamee, CNN, "Celebrate Star Wars Day: May the 4th be with you," 4 May 2021 The individual investors who make up a sizable percentage of Robinhood’s customer base were outraged. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Robinhood goes bust right as Dogecoin goes boom," 4 May 2021 This was enough for a vocal portion of the Twins fan base. Star Tribune, "Byron Buxton's emergence gives Twins fans hope Miguel Sano eventually will figure things out," 4 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Scouts no longer can base college QB evaluations on ability to read defenses. Nick Canepa Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Dodgers eager to deny rivalry with Padres, so they must be worried," 1 May 2021 Amphibious assault ships deploy marines by both air and sea, while ballistic missile submarines allow a country to base its nuclear weapons in a (relatively) secure bastion secure from surprise attack. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "China Just Commissioned Three Warships in a Single Day," 27 Apr. 2021 Or worse still, base our guesses on nothing whatsoever. Derek Newton, Forbes, "New Dashboard Charts National EdTech Inequity," 27 Apr. 2021 Granby and Farmington base their amounts on the standard cost of a box and pressure treated posts. Steve Smith, courant.com, "Simsbury Selectmen vote to raise allotment for fixing snow-damaged mailboxes," 22 Apr. 2021 Africom is trying to use technology to bridge the gap and get around the policy restriction to base U.S. troops in Somalia. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "Trump and Biden orders complicate Africa Command's fight against al Shabab," 21 Mar. 2021 The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine recommends that pregnant women should base their decision in part on how much virus is circulating in their community, as well as the risks from a COVID-19 infection. Jessica Flores, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus updates: Moderna vaccinations set to begin Monday; New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo urges feds to ban flights from UK; 317K US deaths," 21 Dec. 2020 Your exuberance might lead you to base your decisions on the flip of a coin. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for April 12, 2021: Happy birthday Andy Garcia; Scorpio, try not to be stubborn," 12 Apr. 2021 Shiota was probably the person who supplied the artist with a photograph on which to base the work, Feltens said. Washington Post, "Seeing Washington’s cherry blossoms through the eyes of a Japanese artist," 31 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Garoppolo has a base salary of $24.2 million and will count $27 million against the salary cap. Eric Branch, San Francisco Chronicle, "John Lynch: 49ers will pay Jimmy Garoppolo's $24.2 million salary in 2021," 1 May 2021 Fitzpatrick has a base salary of $2.723 million for the 2021 season. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Steelers pick up $10.612 million option on Minkah Fitzpatrick’s contract," 28 Apr. 2021 Minshew is under team control for two more seasons with a base salary of less than $1 million each year. Matt Goul, cleveland, "Trades you might (and might not) see by the NFL Draft 2021," 26 Apr. 2021 It was set to approve a four-year contract with a base salary of $225,000, according to the South Pasadenan website. oregonlive, "West Linn police scandal follows former city manager to California, where he lost job offer," 22 Apr. 2021 There were six of us on the sales team, and our compensation package consisted of a base salary with a generous bonus structure. Michele Bailey, Forbes, "The Currency Of Gratitude: Placing Gratitude At The Center Of Your Personal Brand," 15 Apr. 2021 The deal guarantees him $5.41 million per year with a base salary of $225,000, professional services contract of $2.75 million and an annual $2.435 million retention bonus. BostonGlobe.com, "Kevin Durant fined $50,000 for offensive language on social media," 3 Apr. 2021 The mayor receives a base salary of $80,040 and a stipend from the Gary Sanitary District. Carrie Napoleon, chicagotribune.com, "Common Council takes fight with Gary mayor to court over staffer’s job title change," 25 Mar. 2021 James was due a base salary of $4.95 million in 2021. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions to release TE Jesse James as roster overhaul continues," 12 Mar. 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for base

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for base

Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Base.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/base. Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for base

base

noun

English Language Learners Definition of base

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the bottom or lowest part of something : the part on which something rests or is supported
: something (such as a group of people or things) that provides support for a place, business, etc.
: a main ingredient to which other things are added to make something

base

verb

English Language Learners Definition of base (Entry 2 of 2)

: to have a particular place as the main place where a person works or lives or where a business operates

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

Comments on base

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