base

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

Essential Meaning of base

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

Full 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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The team decided to fly her down to the base using Firebird 3. Jane Florance, The Arizona Republic, 21 Jan. 2022 Students that have received half or more of their instruction remotely are only funded at 85% of the base rate that schools receive for all in-person students. Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star, 5 Jan. 2022 Isaac Arcos, a 23-year-old Marine from North Carolina, joined the traffic jam himself late Monday night while driving northbound to the Marine Corps base at Quantico. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 4 Jan. 2022 After a quick evasive maneuver, control returns to the autopilot, which flies the fighter back to base. Frank O’brien, Ars Technica, 4 Jan. 2022 The main liquor trade body, Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., or Discus, calculates that the base federal excise tax rate is 12.7 cents on a 1.5-ounce shot of spirits and 5.4 cents on a 12-ounce beer. Saabira Chaudhuri, WSJ, 3 Jan. 2022 From there they were taken by a helicopter in smaller groups at a time to the base of the mountains. Emmett Jones, Fox News, 3 Jan. 2022 The 20 people were then ferried by helicopter several at a time to the base of the mountains. Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, 3 Jan. 2022 All the people on the two cars were employees of the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway or a mountaintop restaurant, and the 20 in one car were being ferried down to the base of the mountains at the end of their workdays, Arguellas said. Paul Davenport, ajc, 2 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Some businesses also are working on strategies that would base office returns on the needs of specific groups, these executives say. Peter Grant, WSJ, 11 Jan. 2022 In the past, employers would typically just ask candidates for their current salary and base a new job offer on the number provided, maybe offering some small percentage more. New York Times, 30 Dec. 2021 Right now, most social media apps base their metrics on time spent on the app, not what users are spending that time doing. Emma Stein, Detroit Free Press, 24 Dec. 2021 The proposal involves a micro-transit model that would base availability on level of demand. Natalija Mileusnic, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 23 Dec. 2021 Bobby shared data from a recent Prosper Insight & Analytics survey which reveals how consumers of different generations recognize major brands and base their purchases on particular labels or if labels are ignored when shopping. Gary Drenik, Forbes, 23 Dec. 2021 The challenge is to ignore the political noise and base his policies on science, said Wilkes, a former adviser to the prime minister’s predecessor, Theresa May. Danica Kirka, ajc, 19 Dec. 2021 The task force wants lawmakers to consider switching to an average student membership model, which would base funding on how many students are on a school's roster. Olivia Krauth, The Courier-Journal, 9 Nov. 2021 Others worried that people who want to vote for the winners might base their vote on polls. cleveland, 30 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Neustrom, the Orioles’ fifth-round pick in 2018, had 50 extra-base hits between Double-A and Triple-A last season. Nathan Ruiz, baltimoresun.com, 21 Jan. 2022 Postseason homers and extra-base hits: Ortiz 17 and 41, Martinez eight and 15. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 20 Jan. 2022 Arias showed extra-base power with 37% of his hits going for extra bases -- 29 doubles, three triples and 13 homers. Joe Noga, cleveland, 10 Dec. 2021 The jobs will have a base salary range of $99,000 to $100,000. Alexandria Burris, The Indianapolis Star, 7 Dec. 2021 Indeed, many critics of the minimum tax also oppose reforms to the base corporate income tax. Reuven Avi-yonah For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, 24 Nov. 2021 For 2022, the 718 Boxster models that get the key to our city are the base four-cylinder roadster, the T, and the S. Rich Ceppos, Car and Driver, 17 Nov. 2021 Offered on the base versions of the Born, its first fully electric car based on the Volkswagen ID.3, the seats are a product of an agreement with the Seaqual Initiative. Michael Taylor, Forbes, 31 Oct. 2021 Pollock has faced Wood most among the Dodgers and is 10-for-25 with five extra-base this. Matt Kawahara, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 Oct. 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

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 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Base.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/base. Accessed 29 Jan. 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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