base

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

base

adjective (1)

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

base

adjective (2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from base

Noun

baseless \ ˈbā-​sləs How to pronounce baseless (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 Step 3 Cover the base with the pecan halves touching each other, flat sides down, all in the same direction. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, "These praline bars are like pecan pie by way of New Orleans," 2 Dec. 2019 Super Class Radio Dispatch, which Lantigua drives for, had more than 250 drivers about five years ago, according to Fidel Farrell, one of the base's owners. Arkansas Online, "Livery cabs feeling squeezed in NYC," 1 Dec. 2019 Banner Health, Honor Health, The Arizona Republic and the Phoenix Convention Center are among the local client base. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "OpenWorks cleans up nicely with a successful franchise model," 1 Dec. 2019 Politically, that means mirroring the right’s successful tactic of doubling down on a firm position — and using energy from the liberal base instead of building bipartisan, cultural support. New York Times, "How a Divided Left Is Losing the Battle on Abortion," 1 Dec. 2019 Thirty one East Granby firefighters battled the fire with assistance from firefighters from the Air National Guard base at Bradley airport, Simsbury and Granby. David Owens, courant.com, "Fire heavily damages East Granby home," 1 Dec. 2019 The fabric is breathable on your back for comfort and water-resistant at the base to keep your essentials dry. Jessica Kasparian, USA TODAY, "The best Black Friday deals from Adidas," 30 Nov. 2019 There are 317 single-family homes and duplexes on the pilot-training base. Sig Christenson, ExpressNews.com, "Air Force, firm to revamp mold-infested homes at San Antonio’s Randolph air base," 29 Nov. 2019 Mr Erdogan’s regime responded by cutting power to the base and arresting its commander. The Economist, "Turkey’s Syria move highlights America’s tactical nukes in Europe," 28 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Both congressional and legislative districts will be redrawn in 2021, based on 2020 census figures. Washington Post, "Judges: New North Carolina Congress map will be used in 2020," 3 Dec. 2019 The popularity of customizable bowls also seems to be going strong, based on the new options that have sprung up in the Valley. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, azcentral, "Coffee, poutine and tacos: These new restaurants opened in metro Phoenix in November," 3 Dec. 2019 Trump, meanwhile, will be asking voters to re-elect him based on the strength of an economy that continues to show low unemployment and stock market gains instead of the controversies that have enveloped his administration. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "These are the swing voters in Michigan who will sway 2020 election," 2 Dec. 2019 But county government oversees billing for sewer service, calculating it based on the previous year’s water consumption as reported by the city. Alison Knezevich, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore County apartment owner says misplaced decimal point led to $500,000 in incorrect sewer fees," 2 Dec. 2019 Building temperatures are set based on male metabolic rates. Amy Schlinger, Glamour, "Why Are Women Always Cold? There's a Scientific Reason," 30 Nov. 2019 The majority of the costumes were either vintage or high-street-store pieces that Atwood pulled together based on the images of various newsrooms around the country, Fox News and the like. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Stilettos, Spanx, and Push-Up Bras: Bombshell Goes Inside the Fox News Wardrobe Closet," 29 Nov. 2019 When calculated based on the states’ population, the rates of orders per 100,000 residents varied from 1.4 in Rhode Island to 20 in Maryland. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, "Uncertainty remains as law enforcement, courts prepare for controversial red flag law to go into effect," 29 Nov. 2019 In America the story seemed more solid, based on the analyses of tax data produced by the likes of Messrs Piketty, Saez and Zucman. The Economist, "Economists are rethinking the numbers on inequality," 28 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The new attraction’s story line boils down to this: The First Order has captured folks who must escape the ship and go to the planet of Batuu, the base planet of the parks’ Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge areas. Dewayne Bevil, orlandosentinel.com, "First look: Disney’s new ‘Star Wars’ ride spins into Hollywood Studios," 14 Nov. 2019 The base spirit, once a niche product, is now the Campari Group’s largest seller. Natasha Frost, Quartzy, "As Aperol spritz fatigue sets in, the fight to sell the next big drink is already underway," 30 Oct. 2019 Many genetic traits and diseases are caused by a single nucleotide change, so base editing offers a powerful alternative for biotechnology and medicine. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "New ‘prime’ genome editor could surpass CRISPR," 21 Oct. 2019 Further, because the Gladiator must provide serious off-roading ability, all but the base manual-transmission models come with a two-speed transfer case providing low range for slow-going and steep climbing. Jim Resnick, Ars Technica, "The 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, tested," 8 Oct. 2019 The Ryzen 7 Pro 3700 is in the middle with 8 cores, 16 threads, and a boost clock of 4.4GHz and base clock of 3.6GHz. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "AMD drops a 12-core Ryzen 9 Pro 3900 chip among other business-focused CPUs," 30 Sep. 2019 The bank will pay Rose a base salary of 1.1 million pounds ($1.4 million), 10% more than McEwan’s base pay, which was unchanged since his appointment in 2013. Fortune, "A Woman Is Finally Running One of Britain’s Big Banks," 20 Sep. 2019 Uber and Lyft have offered to give employees a base hourly wage, access to benefits and a right to bargain across the industry. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "California Governor Signs Law on Gig Economy That Could 'Gut the Music Industry'," 18 Sep. 2019 In Columbus, Ohio, City Council members were paid a base salary of $57,738 in 2018. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "Hogsett says he'll veto Democrats' last-minute proposal to raise City-County Council salaries," 18 Nov. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Statistics for base

Last Updated

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Base.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/base?show=0&t=1347123889. Accessed 10 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for base

base

noun
How to pronounce base (audio)

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.
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 bases (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

Other Words from base

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on base

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for base

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with base

Spanish Central: Translation of base

Nglish: Translation of base for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of base for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about base

Comments on base

What made you want to look up base? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to state or do over again or repeatedly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!