ba·​sin | \ˈbā-sᵊn \

Definition of basin 

1a : an open usually circular vessel with sloping or curving sides used typically for holding water for washing a new washstand and basin

b chiefly British : a bowl used especially in cooking

c : the quantity contained in a basin spilled a basin of water on the floor

2a : a dock built in a harbor or a river that is noticeably affected by the tide

b : an enclosed or partly enclosed water area

3 geography

a : a large or small depression in the surface of the land or in the ocean floor the relatively shallow basin of the Baltic Sea

b : the entire tract of country drained by a river and its tributaries flooding in the Amazon river basin

c : a great depression in the surface of the lithosphere occupied by an ocean

4 geology : a broad area of the earth beneath which the strata (see stratum sense 2a) dip usually from the sides toward the center

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Other Words from basin

basinal \ˈbā-​sᵊn-​əl \ adjective
basined \ˈbā-​sᵊnd \ adjective
basinful \ˈbā-​sᵊn-​ˌfu̇l \ noun

Examples of basin in a Sentence

a basin of cold water the drainage basin of a river the Great Basin of the western U.S.
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Recent Examples on the Web

That includes chinook stocks from the Puget Sound in Washington and the Columbia River basin that straddles Oregon and Washington. Gillian Flaccus, The Seattle Times, "International 10-year salmon preservation plan advances," 18 Sep. 2018 Unusual floods struck throughout the basin during winter 2015–16, and more swamped parts of Illinois, Arkansas and Missouri after torrential rains in 2017. Stephanie Pappas, Scientific American, "Taming the Mighty Mississippi May Have Caused Bigger Floods," 10 Apr. 2018 The 163-mile pipeline project runs across the Atchafalaya River basin, which includes fragile cypress-tupelo swamps. Mark Schleifstein,, "Corps was 'arbitrary and capricious' in granting Bayou Bridge pipeline permit: federal judge," 28 Feb. 2018 That’s because the region’s geography acts as a basin that traps dirty air over the city. Umair Irfan, Vox, "New Delhi is once again the most polluted city on Earth," 8 Nov. 2018 In North Carolina, authorities are assessing water conditions on the Cape Fear River after rising waters there submerged a coal-ash basin near a Duke Energy Corp. power plant. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "South Carolina Faces More Flooding as Rivers Continue to Crest," 25 Sep. 2018 Experts on the scene tell PM that a fan from one of the engines was recovered in a catchment basin, downhill from the crash site. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Debunking Myths About United Flight 93," 10 Sep. 2018 When opened, the diversion will move as much as 75,000 cubic feet per second of river water out into the basin. Nate Berg, Curbed, "Can engineering save Louisiana’s coastline?," 7 Nov. 2018 The basins are marked with signs warning visitors to stay off them, the report said. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "Viral video shows man trying to bathe feet in Yellowstone's thermal hot springs: report," 25 Sep. 2018

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for basin

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French bacin, going back to Vulgar Latin *baccīnum (whence Hellenized Late Latin bacchinon "disk with two wooden dishes"), derivative from a base *bak- or *bakk- (whence Latin bacar, bacriō "kind of vessel," early Medieval Latin bacarium, baccarium, becario "pitcher, vessel"), of obscure origin

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Statistics for basin

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for basin

The first known use of basin was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for basin



English Language Learners Definition of basin

: a kitchen sink

: a large bowl that is used for mixing, cooking, or serving food

: the amount contained in a basin


ba·​sin | \ˈbā-sᵊn \

Kids Definition of basin

1 : a wide shallow usually round dish or bowl for holding liquids

2 : the amount that a basin holds a basin of cold water

3 : the land drained by a river and its branches

4 : a partly enclosed area of water for anchoring ships


ba·​sin | \ˈbās-ᵊn \

Medical Definition of basin 

1 : an open usually circular vessel with sloping or curving sides used typically for holding water for washing

2 : the quantity contained in a basin

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More from Merriam-Webster on basin

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with basin

Spanish Central: Translation of basin

Nglish: Translation of basin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of basin for Arabic Speakers

Comments on basin

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having a pattern of small flowers

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