ba·sic | \ˈbā-sik also -zik \

Definition of basic 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a : of, relating to, or forming the base or essence : fundamental basic truths

b : concerned with fundamental scientific principles : not applied basic research

2 : constituting or serving as the basis or starting point a basic set of tools

3a : of, relating to, containing, or having the character of a chemical base

b : having an alkaline reaction

4 : containing relatively little silica basic rocks

5 : relating to, made by, used in, or being a process of making steel done in a furnace lined with basic material and under basic slag


noun (1)

Definition of basic (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : something that is basic : fundamental get back to basics


noun (2)
BA·SIC | \ˈbā-sik \

Definition of BASIC (Entry 3 of 3)

computers : a simplified high-level language for programming a computer The program was written in BASIC.

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Other Words from basic


basicity \bā-ˈsi-sə-tē \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for basic

Synonyms: Adjective

basal, beginning, elemental, elementary, essential, fundamental, introductory, rudimentary, underlying

Antonyms: Adjective


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Examples of basic in a Sentence


In this class, you will learn the basic principles of chemistry. At its most basic level, the book is about a father's relationship with his children. The basic difference between the two companies is their size. rights that are basic to all human beings basic reading, writing, and mathematics She lacks even the most basic skills necessary for the job. That's just the basic salary without overtime or tips. The motel is comfortable but pretty basic: you get the necessities all right, but no luxuries.

Noun (1)

He's teaching me the basics of Japanese cooking. He starts basic in two months.

Noun (2)

The program is written in BASIC.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

To get a complete picture, scientists need to answer some basic questions: Where are the warm waters, exactly? Kasha Patel, Smithsonian, "How Data-Gathering Seals Help Scientists Measure the Melting Antarctic," 13 July 2018 In 2016, Kavanaugh authored the majority opinion in PHH Corp v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, finding the basic structure of the consumer authority to be unconstitutional. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, "What you need to know about Trump's top SCOTUS contenders," 8 July 2018 But one thing above all others explains the current mess: the Conservative Party, or large chunks of it, has forgotten the basic principles of conservatism. The Economist, "The Conservative Party has trashed the basic principles of conservatism," 12 July 2018 At its most basic, the buyer submits an offer with specifics on the purchase price, down payment amount, financing, timing, and other business details. Houston Chronicle, "Counteroffers and contracts: Follow tips to get through process," 8 July 2018 The steering wheel controls are basic, which is good, but then there’s another button behind the steering wheel to scroll through the vehicle info display, which is mildly inconvenient. Robert Duffer,, "Auto review: Mitsubishi shows signs of life with 2018 Eclipse Cross," 19 June 2018 The program has three basic principles: All officers participate voluntarily. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Implementation of mental health training plan for officers runs counter to recommendations," 8 June 2018 Subtitles run across the bottom of the screen with basic questions about his being as the genre-blending rapper enters his own funeral, staring down a former version of himself in the casket. Michael Saponara, Billboard, "XXXTentacion Lays Himself to Rest in Eerie New 'SAD!' Video: Watch," 28 June 2018 In addition to depriving them of basic social services, the Knesset passed a law that allowed Eritreans and Sudanese to be arbitrarily detained without charge or trial for up to three years. Brian Goldstone, The New Republic, "Essential reporting, interpretation, and opinion on politics and culture. Don't miss our latest.," 26 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Back at Triple-A El Paso, the 30-year-old catcher got back to basics on Sunday. Jeff Sanders,, "Raffy Lopez, Chihuahuas break out in win," 9 July 2018 Back to basics To no one's surprise, Paramore sprinkled in the classics throughout the show. Sarah Bahr, Indianapolis Star, "5 ways Paramore mixed past and present at the Lawn," 2 July 2018 For her first non-U.S. tour date, Taylor really took it back to basics. Rebecca Farley,, "Taylor Swift Swings Through Manchester For A Moving Reputation Concert," 11 June 2018 Keep to the basics, and recognize what is possible., "Non-profit aims to get girls in the game," 21 May 2018 The new redesign is supposed to go back to basics and return to the things people loved about the old version and missed in the new one. Helena_fitzgerald, The Verge, "The decline of Snapchat and the secret joy of internet ghost towns," 18 May 2018 But the hearing frequently turned to the basics of climate science. Scott Waldmann, Science | AAAS, "Republican lawmaker: Rocks tumbling into ocean causing sea level rise," 17 May 2018 Consumers should hew even closer to the basics of food safety — make sure to wash utensils and hands in hot soapy water and cook food to the proper bacteria-killing temperature. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "There's a multi-state E. coli outbreak. Here's what the FDA knows and doesn't know. | Miami Herald," 10 Apr. 2018 But, as Campbell shows us, even sticking to the basics will give you quite the workout. Leah Prinzivalli, SELF, "Why Naomi Campbell's Battle Ropes Move Is an Effective Total-Body Cardio Exercise," 30 Mar. 2018

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


1842, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (1)

1908, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1964, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for basic


base entry 1 + -ic entry 1

Noun (2)

Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code

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Dictionary Entries near basic






basic airman


Phrases Related to basic

basic amenities

get/go back to (the) basics

Statistics for basic

Last Updated

5 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for basic

The first known use of basic was in 1842

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More Definitions for basic



English Language Learners Definition of basic

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: forming or relating to the most important part of something

: forming or relating to the first or easiest part of something

: not including anything extra



English Language Learners Definition of basic (Entry 2 of 3)

basics : the simplest and most important parts of something (such as a subject of study)



English Language Learners Definition of BASIC (Entry 3 of 3)

computers : a simple language used for programming computers


ba·sic | \ˈbā-sik \

Kids Definition of basic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : relating to or forming the basis or most important part of something the basic principles of science a basic set of tools

2 : relating to or characteristic of a chemical base a basic compound

Other Words from basic

basically \-si-kə-lē \ adverb



Kids Definition of basic (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is one of the simplest and most important parts of something the basics of farming


ba·sic | \ˈbā-sik also -zik\

Medical Definition of basic 

1 : of, relating to, or forming the base or essence

2a : of, relating to, containing, or having the character of a base

b : having an alkaline reaction

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More from Merriam-Webster on basic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for basic

Spanish Central: Translation of basic

Nglish: Translation of basic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of basic for Arabic Speakers

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