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base Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun installation from which a military force initiates operations
    base of operations.
    • the attack wiped out our forward bases
  2. noun lowest support of a structure
    foundation; substructure; groundwork; understructure; fundament; foot.
    • it was built on a base of solid rock
    • he stood at the foot of the tower
  3. noun a place that the runner must touch before scoring
    • he scrambled to get back to the bag
  4. noun the bottom or lowest part
    • the base of the mountain
  5. noun (anatomy) the part of an organ nearest its point of attachment
    • the base of the skull
  6. noun a lower limit
    • the government established a wage floor
  7. noun the fundamental assumptions from which something is begun or developed or calculated or explained
    foundation; basis; groundwork; fundament; cornerstone.
    • the whole argument rested on a basis of conjecture
  8. noun a support or foundation
    pedestal; stand.
    • the base of the lamp
  9. noun a phosphoric ester of a nucleoside; the basic structural unit of nucleic acids (DNA or RNA)
  10. noun any of various water-soluble compounds capable of turning litmus blue and reacting with an acid to form a salt and water
    • bases include oxides and hydroxides of metals and ammonia
  11. noun the bottom side of a geometric figure from which the altitude can be constructed
    • the base of the triangle
  12. noun the most important or necessary part of something
    • the basis of this drink is orange juice
  13. noun (numeration system) the positive integer that is equivalent to one in the next higher counting place
    • 10 is the radix of the decimal system
  14. noun the place where you are stationed and from which missions start and end
  15. noun a terrorist network intensely opposed to the United States that dispenses money and logistical support and training to a wide variety of radical Islamic terrorist groups; has cells in more than 50 countries
    al-Qaida; Qaeda; al-Qa'ida; al-Qaeda.
  16. noun (linguistics) the form of a word after all affixes are removed
    root word; radical; stem; theme; root.
    • thematic vowels are part of the stem
  17. noun the stock of basic facilities and capital equipment needed for the functioning of a country or area
    • the industrial base of Japan
  18. noun the principal ingredient of a mixture
    • glycerinated gelatin is used as a base for many ointments
    • he told the painter that he wanted a yellow base with just a hint of green
    • everything she cooked seemed to have rice as the base
  19. noun a flat bottom on which something is intended to sit
    • a tub should sit on its own base
  20. noun (electronics) the part of a transistor that separates the emitter from the collector
  21. verb use as a basis for; found on
    found; establish; ground.
    • base a claim on some observation
  22. verb situate as a center of operations
    • we will base this project in the new lab
  23. verb use (purified cocaine) by burning it and inhaling the fumes
  24. adjective satellite serving as or forming a base
    • the painter applied a base coat followed by two finishing coats
  25. adjective satellite of low birth or station (`base' is archaic in this sense)
    baseborn; lowly; humble.
    • baseborn wretches with dirty faces
    • of humble (or lowly) birth
  26. adjective satellite (used of metals) consisting of or alloyed with inferior metal
    • base coins of aluminum
    • a base metal
  27. adjective satellite not adhering to ethical or moral principles
    • base and unpatriotic motives
    • a base, degrading way of life
    • cheating is dishonorable
    • they considered colonialism immoral
    • unethical practices in handling public funds
  28. adjective satellite having or showing an ignoble lack of honor or morality
    meanspirited; mean.
    • that liberal obedience without which your army would be a base rabble"- Edmund Burke
    • taking a mean advantage
    • chok'd with ambition of the meaner sort"- Shakespeare
    • something essentially vulgar and meanspirited in politics
  29. adjective satellite illegitimate
  30. adjective satellite debased; not genuine
    • an attempt to eliminate the base coinage

Base adjective
OE. bass, F. bas, low, fr. LL. bassus thick, fat, short, humble; cf. L. Bassus, a proper name, and W. bas shallow. Cf. Bass a part in music.
  1. Of little, or less than the usual, height; of low growth; as, base shrubs. Archaic Shak.
  2. Low in place or position. Obs. Shak.
  3. Of humble birth; or low degree; lowly; mean. Archaic "A pleasant and base swain." Bacon.
  4. Illegitimate by birth; bastard. Archaic
    Why bastard? wherefore base? Shak.
  5. Of little comparative value, as metal inferior to gold and silver, the precious metals.
  6. Alloyed with inferior metal; debased; as, base coin; base bullion.
  7. Morally low. Hence: Low-minded; unworthy; without dignity of sentiment; ignoble; mean; illiberal; menial; as, a base fellow; base motives; base occupations. "A cruel act of a base and a cowardish mind." Robynson (More's Utopia). "Base ingratitude." Milton.
  8. Not classical or correct. "Base Latin." Fuller.
  9. Deep or grave in sound; as, the base tone of a violin. In this sense, commonly written bass.
  10. (Law) Not held by honorable service; as, a base estate, one held by services not honorable; held by villenage. Such a tenure is called base, or low, and the tenant, a base tenant. Syn. -- Dishonorable; worthless; ignoble; low-minded; infamous; sordid; degraded. -- Base, Vile, Mean. These words, as expressing moral qualities, are here arranged in the order of their strength, the strongest being placed first. Base marks a high degree of moral turpitude; vile and mean denote, in different degrees, the want of what is valuable or worthy of esteem. What is base excites our abhorrence; what is vile provokes our disgust or indignation; what is mean awakens contempt. Base is opposed to high-minded; vile, to noble; mean, to liberal or generous. Ingratitude is base; sycophancy is vile; undue compliances are mean.
Base noun
F. base, L. basis, fr. Gr. a stepping step, a base, pedestal, fr. to go, step, akin to E. come. Cf. Basis, and see Come.
  1. The bottom of anything, considered as its support, or that on which something rests for support; the foundation; as, the base of a statue. "The base of mighty mountains." Prescott.
  2. Fig.: The fundamental or essential part of a thing; the essential principle; a groundwork.
  3. (Arch.) (a) The lower part of a wall, pier, or column, when treated as a separate feature, usually in projection, or especially ornamented. (b) The lower part of a complete architectural design, as of a monument; also, the lower part of any elaborate piece of furniture or decoration.
  4. (Bot.) That extremity of a leaf, fruit, etc., at which it is attached to its support.
  5. (Chem.) The positive, or non-acid component of a salt; a substance which, combined with an acid, neutralizes the latter and forms a salt; -- applied also to the hydroxides of the positive elements or radicals, and to certain organic bodies resembling them in their property of forming salts with acids.
  6. (Pharmacy) The chief ingredient in a compound.
  7. (Dyeing) A substance used as a mordant. Ure.
  8. (Fort.) The exterior side of the polygon, or that imaginary line which connects the salient angles of two adjacent bastions.
  9. (Geom.) The line or surface constituting that part of a figure on which it is supposed to stand.
  10. (Math.) The number from which a mathematical table is constructed; as, the base of a system of logarithms.
  11. See Base low. A low, or deep, sound. (Mus.) (a) The lowest part; the deepest male voice. (b) One who sings, or the instrument which plays, base. Now commonly written bass.
    The trebles squeak for fear, the bases roar. Dryden.
  12. (Mil.) A place or tract of country, protected by fortifications, or by natural advantages, from which the operations of an army proceed, forward movements are made, supplies are furnished, etc.
  13. (Mil.) The smallest kind of cannon. Obs.
  14. (Zoöl.) That part of an organ by which it is attached to another more central organ.
  15. (Crystallog.) The basal plane of a crystal.
  16. (Geol.) The ground mass of a rock, especially if not distinctly crystalline.
  17. (Her.) The lower part of the field. See Escutcheon.
  18. The housing of a horse. Obs.
  19. pl. A kind of skirt ( often of velvet or brocade, but sometimes of mailed armor) which hung from the middle to about the knees, or lower. Obs.
  20. The lower part of a robe or petticoat. Obs.
  21. An apron. Obs. "Bakers in their linen bases." Marston.
  22. The point or line from which a start is made; a starting place or a goal in various games.
    To their appointed base they went. Dryden.
  23. (Surv.) A line in a survey which, being accurately determined in length and position, serves as the origin from which to compute the distances and positions of any points or objects connected with it by a system of triangles. Lyman.
  24. A rustic play; -- called also prisoner's base, prison base, or bars. "To run the country base." Shak.
  25. (Baseball) Any one of the four bounds which mark the circuit of the infield.
Base transitive verb
From Base, n.
imperfect & past participle Based (); present participle & verbal noun Basing
  1. To put on a base or basis; to lay the foundation of; to found, as an argument or conclusion; -- used with on or upon. Bacon.
Base transitive verb
See Base, a., and cf. Abase.
  1. To abase; to let, or cast, down; to lower. Obs.
    If any . . . based his pike. Sir T. North.
  2. To reduce the value of; to debase. Obs.
    Metals which we can not base. Bacon.

Webster 1913

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