noun, often attributive
base·​line | \ ˈbās-ˌlīn How to pronounce baseline (audio) \

Definition of baseline

1 : a line serving as a basis especially : one of known measure or position used (as in surveying or navigation) to calculate or locate something
2a : either of the lines on a baseball field that lead from home plate to first base and third base and are extended into the outfield as foul lines
3 : a boundary line at either end of a court (as in tennis or basketball)
4 : a usually initial set of critical observations or data used for comparison or a control
5 : a starting point the baseline of this discussion

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Examples of baseline in a Sentence

The experiment is meant only to provide a baseline for other studies. any year or event we use as the baseline for the Renaissance is going to be at least somewhat arbitrary
Recent Examples on the Web For seven out of 11 months this year the group’s second-largest producer has actually been pumping above its baseline — rather than below — for cuts as spelled out in the agreement. Julian Lee | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "OPEC+ Deal Isn’t Worth the Paper It’s Written On," 15 Dec. 2019 The result: a temporary increase in shedding compared to your baseline. Allure, "Why Your Hair Sheds More in Fall and What You Can Do About It," 21 Nov. 2019 Even as a sixth-round rookie, Minshew’s intelligence, accuracy and mobility within the pocket has established his baseline as a lower-tier NFL starting quarterback. Adam Kilgore, The Denver Post, "The Year of the Backup QB has created some unexpected, major decisions for NFL teams," 19 Oct. 2019 Compared with their original baseline, participants showed an improvement in signs of aging—specifically, wrinkles around the eyes—after eight weeks. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Hyaluronic Acid Benefits: This Ingredient Is a Skin-Care Superstar for Good Reason," 3 Oct. 2019 The federal minimum wage has remained unchanged for a decade, while costs for things like healthcare and higher education have soared, prompting some companies, including Inc., to raise its baseline and encourage others to follow. Los Angeles Times, "CEOs spurned the shareholders-first model. Now critics ask, ‘What’s next?’," 23 Aug. 2019 Mohaddes says that economic losses from climate change depend in part on extreme events, which can cause temperatures to temporarily greatly exceed or fall below their historical baseline. Andrew Freedman,, "Climate change could cost the U.S. up to 10.5 percent of its GDP by 2100, study finds," 22 Aug. 2019 Anecdotal evidence suggests that some programs (Utah and Oregon, to name two) have a lower no-show rate than our 10 percent baseline, while other schools have a higher rate no-show rate — vastly higher, in some cases. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "The Pac-12 considers 9 a.m. kickoffs: Examining the impact on attendance," 29 July 2019 French researchers raised questions about two sites in Africa, which calculated their baselines using other, supposedly comparable areas. Paula Moura, ProPublica, "Why Carbon Credits For Forest Preservation May Be Worse Than Nothing," 22 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'baseline.' 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 baseline

circa 1556, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for baseline

Time Traveler

The first known use of baseline was circa 1556

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Statistics for baseline

Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Baseline.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for baseline


How to pronounce baseline (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of baseline

technical : information that is used as a starting point by which to compare other information
: a line at either end of the playing area in games like basketball and tennis
: either one of the lines that lead from home plate to first base and third base


base·​line | \ ˈbā-ˌslīn How to pronounce baseline (audio) \

Medical Definition of baseline

: a set of critical observations or data used for comparison or a control

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