base

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

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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There must be garish luxury juxtaposed with base behavior. Anna Peele, Vulture, "The Soul of Bravo," 14 Apr. 2021 Curling mascaras often use a curved brush. Fiber and priming: Unlike lengthening, volumizing or curling mascaras, fiber and priming mascaras are traditionally neutral in color and designed to be the base layer for several coats of mascara. Sydney Poe, chicagotribune.com, "The best cheap mascara," 14 Apr. 2021 Although no official announcement has been made, that hasn’t stopped the Swifties, Swift’s fan base, from theorizing about a possible release date. Angie Orellana Hernandez, Los Angeles Times, "Taylor Swift gets cryptic with Stephen Colbert, sending her fans into detective mode," 14 Apr. 2021 Beyond the selfie camera, another recent leak has insinuated that the base iPhone 13 model will use a new configuration for the primary camera on the back of the phone. Jacob Siegal, BGR, "iPhone 13 parts leak reveals a design change Apple fans have been dying for," 14 Apr. 2021 As Madoff Securities' client base grew, so did Madoff's influence, especially as an early champion of using after-hours computer technology for trading. NBC News, "Bernie Madoff, mastermind of largest Ponzi scheme in history, dies at 82," 14 Apr. 2021 First base coach Craig Driver already was away from the club following his positive test. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "Reds-Giants MLB 2021 live stream (4/13): How to watch online, TV info, time," 14 Apr. 2021 Through the first two innings, both teams had base runners but couldn’t find timely hits to score any runs. Phillip Steinmetz, The Courier-Journal, "Mikayla Milby gets birthday wish as Ballard softball snaps Male’s 45-game win streak," 14 Apr. 2021 At times those high-minded ideals and ugly divisions conflict as Weaver claimed happened on Nov. 6, 2015, at the Delaware base where Weaver trained. USA Today, "‘Most humiliating punishment imaginable’: Black National Guardsman allegedly forced to wear heavy chain," 14 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Shiota was probably the person who supplied the artist with a photograph on which to base the work, Feltens said. Washington Post, "Seeing Washington’s cherry blossoms through the eyes of a Japanese artist," 31 Mar. 2021 Remember to base your selections on their mature size to avoid overcrowding. oregonlive, "Learn to build a Pacific Northwest rain garden," 23 Mar. 2021 One of the show’s stars, Mandy Patinkin, visited Quantico looking for a profiler to base his character on. Rachel Monroe, Vulture, "The Criminal Minds of Jim and Tim," 15 Mar. 2021 The teens decided to base their designs on a bullseye concept. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "This online fitness brand is launching line of shoes and clothing designed by Boston teens," 25 Feb. 2021 Experts have criticized rebates for the fact that payers often don’t base their decisions to include a drug on comparative clinical effectiveness. Joshua Cohen, Forbes, "Rebate Walls Stifle Prescription Drug Competition," 1 Mar. 2021 For instance, if a family had a baby last year but hasn't yet filed their 2020 returns, the IRS would base their payments on their 2019 returns — which wouldn't include their new baby. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "100 million stimulus checks are landing soon. Here's how to track yours.," 22 Mar. 2021 Alternatively, if an oceanfront pool and tiki bar are more your speed, base yourself at the humble Pines and Palms Resort in Islamorada. Adam H. Graham, WSJ, "Where Can I Travel for Spring Break? Consider the Sun Belt," 19 Mar. 2021 Typically, the statisticians base the ranking on data from the Gallup World Poll. Laura Begley Bloom, Forbes, "The 20 Happiest Countries In The World In 2021," 19 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective And Nunez helped the collective effort with crucial extra-base hits in the second and third innings to make Greinke uncomfortable. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "As Detroit Tigers 'need threats' on offense, slugger Renato Nunez could be solution," 13 Apr. 2021 Steele’s Makayla Uribe hit .800 with three extra-base hits in victories against Wagner and Steele. David Hinojosa, San Antonio Express-News, "Softball: Clark's Victoria Hernandez named E-N Player of the Week," 12 Apr. 2021 By the end of the fifth inning Monday, the Angels had no RBIs, no extra-base hits, were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, "Shohei Ohtani, Alex Cobb catapult Angels to win over Royals," 12 Apr. 2021 Bumgarner gave up four extra-base hits, doubles by Mark Canha, Sean Murphy and Jed Lowrie, all on cutters, and Chapman’s homer off a curve. John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle, "A's knock out Bumgarner, beat Diamondbacks 9-5," 12 Apr. 2021 The Greenbrier native went 1 for 8 during the UALR midweek series, but bounced back with four hits — including three extra-base hits — at Ole Miss. Matt Jones, Arkansas Online, "Wallace named SEC freshman of the week," 12 Apr. 2021 Among the extra-base hits, Milligan recalls tallying a triple in the final inning against Randall on March 20, which set him up as the winning run in a 10-9 victory over the Raiders — one of the Sandies closest games of the season. Julio Vega, USA TODAY, "Amarillo High's Max Milligan signs for Trinity College," 10 Apr. 2021 Right fielder Nick Castellanos has been the biggest threat in the Reds lineup with a .435 batting average and seven extra-base hits. Charlie Goldsmith, The Enquirer, "What comes next for Cincinnati Reds' fourth outfielder Tyler Naquin?," 7 Apr. 2021 Hoskins hit two doubles along with his homer and became the fourth Phillies player with seven extra-base hits in the first six games. Rob Maaddi, Star Tribune, "Bohm, Realmuto hit 3-run homers, Phillies beat Mets 8-2," 7 Apr. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Statistics for base

Last Updated

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Base.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/base. Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for base

base

noun

English Language Learners Definition of base

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

base

verb

English Language Learners Definition of base (Entry 2 of 2)

: to have a particular place as the main place where a person works or lives or where a business operates

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on base

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!