Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin basis, from Greek, step, base, from bainein to go — more at come
Date: 13th century
(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
b. the bottom of something considered as its support ; foundation
(1) a side or face of a geometrical figure from which an altitude can be constructed; especially one on which the figure stands
(2) the length of a base
d. that part of a bodily organ by which it is attached to another more central structure of the organism
a. a main ingredient <paint having a latex base> b. a supporting or carrying ingredient (as of a medicine) 3. a. the fundamental part of something ; groundwork, basis b. the economic factors on which in Marxist theory all legal, social, and political relations are formed 4. the lower part of a heraldic field 5. a. the starting point or line for an action or undertaking b. a baseline in surveying c. a center or area of operations: as (1) the place from which a military force draws supplies (2) a place where military operations begin (3) a permanent military installation d. (1) a number (as 5 in 56.44 or 57) that is raised to a power; 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 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> e. root 6 6. a. the starting place or goal in various games b. any one of the four stations at the corners of a baseball infield c. a point to be considered <his opening remarks touched every base> 7. 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 8. a price level at which a security previously declining in price resists further decline 9. the part of a transformational grammar that consists of rules and a lexicon and generates the deep structures of a language • based adjective • baseless adjective II. transitive verb (based; basing) Date: 1587 1. to make, form, or serve as a base for 2. to find a base or basis for — usually used with on or upon III. adjective Etymology: Middle English bas, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin bassus fat, short, low Date: 14th century 1. archaic of little height 2. obsolete low in place or position 3. obsolete bass 4. archaic baseborn 5. a. resembling a villein ; servile <a base tenant> b. held by villenage <base tenure> 6. a. being of comparatively low value and having relatively inferior properties (as lack of resistance to corrosion) <a base metal such as iron> — compare noble b. containing a larger than usual proportion of base metals <base silver denarii> 7. a. lacking or indicating the lack of higher qualities of mind or spirit ; ignoble b. lacking higher values ; degrading <a drab base way of life> • basely adverb • baseness noun Synonyms: 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>.
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.