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

Addicks and Barker are managed by the Army Corps, not Harris County, leaving any decisions about the future of those basins in the hands of the federal government. Zach Despart, Houston Chronicle, "Harris County pieces together flood bond projects, millions at a time," 18 June 2018 For the season as a whole, three to six tropical cyclones are predicted for the central Pacific hurricane basin, which includes tropical depressions, named storms and hurricanes. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Hurricane Bud now a Category 3 storm, forecast to weaken before hitting Mexico's Baja," 13 June 2018 Oil and gas exploration has traditionally occurred in those basins, though it has been limited in the Arctic. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska delegation wants Trump administration to reduce offshore drilling plan," 27 Jan. 2018 Energy companies have unlocked vast reserves of natural gas from shale basins in West Texas and elsewhere, positioning the U.S. to become a dominant player in the global LNG export market. Katherine Blunt, Houston Chronicle, "Global LNG trade rises alongside U.S. production," 11 June 2018 The 7,600-foot elevation provides welcome relief from desert basins. Roger Naylor, azcentral, "Cool off this summer at these lakes near Payson," 8 June 2018 Long-term fallowing programs around the Colorado River basin have benefited big cities like Los Angeles and San Diego. Felicia Fonseca, The Seattle Times, "Western Arizona eyed as water source for major metro areas," 21 Apr. 2018 Critics have also raised questions about a wellfield in the basin. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "Roadblock for Miami-Dade parkway plan? Feds own big chunks of wetlands along the route," 19 June 2018 Within days, the Klamath Irrigation District, one of the largest water agencies in the basin, decided to push back. Ryan Sabalow And Dale Kasler, sacbee, "Can an uneasy truce hold off another water rebellion on California's northern border? | The Sacramento Bee," 11 May 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

18 Oct 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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Comments on basin

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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