Etymology
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base (n.)

"bottom of anything considered as its support, foundation, pedestal," early 14c., from Old French bas "depth" (12c.), from Latin basis "foundation," from Greek basis "a stepping, a step, that on which one steps or stands, pedestal," from bainein "to go, walk, step," from PIE root *gwa- "to go, come."

The military sense "secure ground from which operations proceed" is from 1860. The chemical sense "compound substance which unites with an acid to form a salt" (1810) was introduced in French 1754 by French chemist Guillaume-François Rouelle (1703-1770). Sporting sense of "starting point" is from 1690s, also "destination of a runner" (1812). As a "safe" spot in a tag-like or ball game, suggested from mid-15c. (as the name of the game later called prisoner's base). Hence base-runner (1867), base-hit (1874), etc. Meaning "resources on which something draws for operation" (as in power-base, database, etc.) is by 1959.

base (adj.)

late 14c., "low, of little height," from Old French bas "low, lowly, mean," from Late Latin bassus "thick, stumpy, low" (used only as a cognomen in classical Latin, humilis being there the usual word for "low in stature or position"), possibly from Oscan, or Celtic, or related to Greek basson, comparative of bathys "deep."

Meaning "low on the social scale" is from late 15c.; that of "low in the moral scale" is first attested 1530s in English. Meaning "benefiting an inferior person or thing, unworthy" is from 1590s. Base metals (c. 1600) were worthless in contrast to noble or precious metals. Related: Basely.

base (v.)

1580s, "serve as a foundation for;" 1841, "to place on a foundation," from base (n.). Related: Based; basing.

updated on February 07, 2021

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Definitions of base from WordNet
1
base (n.)
installation from which a military force initiates operations;
the attack wiped out our forward bases
Synonyms: base of operations
base (n.)
lowest support of a structure;
it was built on a base of solid rock
Synonyms: foundation / fundament / foot / groundwork / substructure / understructure
base (n.)
a place that the runner must touch before scoring;
Synonyms: bag
base (n.)
the bottom or lowest part;
the base of the mountain
base (n.)
(anatomy) the part of an organ nearest its point of attachment;
the base of the skull
base (n.)
a lower limit;
Synonyms: floor
base (n.)
the fundamental assumptions from which something is begun or developed or calculated or explained;
base (n.)
a support or foundation;
the base of the lamp
Synonyms: pedestal / stand
base (n.)
a phosphoric ester of a nucleoside; the basic structural unit of nucleic acids (DNA or RNA);
Synonyms: nucleotide
base (n.)
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
Synonyms: alkali
base (n.)
the bottom side of a geometric figure from which the altitude can be constructed;
the base of the triangle
base (n.)
the most important or necessary part of something;
Synonyms: basis
base (n.)
(numeration system) the positive integer that is equivalent to one in the next higher counting place;
Synonyms: radix
base (n.)
the place where you are stationed and from which missions start and end;
Synonyms: home
base (n.)
(linguistics) the form of a word after all affixes are removed;
Synonyms: root / root word / stem / theme / radical
base (n.)
the stock of basic facilities and capital equipment needed for the functioning of a country or area;
the industrial base of Japan
Synonyms: infrastructure
base (n.)
the principal ingredient of a mixture;
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
glycerinated gelatin is used as a base for many ointments
base (n.)
a flat bottom on which something is intended to sit;
a tub should sit on its own base
base (n.)
(electronics) the part of a transistor that separates the emitter from the collector;
2
base (adj.)
serving as or forming a base;
the painter applied a base coat followed by two finishing coats
Synonyms: basal
base (adj.)
of low birth or station (`base' is archaic in this sense);
Synonyms: baseborn / humble / lowly
base (adj.)
(used of metals) consisting of or alloyed with inferior metal;
base coins of aluminum
a base metal
base (adj.)
not adhering to ethical or moral principles;
base and unpatriotic motives
a base, degrading way of life
Synonyms: immoral
base (adj.)
having or showing an ignoble lack of honor or morality; "that liberal obedience without which your army would be a base rabble"- Edmund Burke; "chok'd with ambition of the meaner sort"- Shakespeare;
Synonyms: mean / meanspirited
base (adj.)
illegitimate;
Synonyms: baseborn
base (adj.)
debased; not genuine;
an attempt to eliminate the base coinage
3
base (v.)
use as a basis for; found on;
base a claim on some observation
Synonyms: establish / ground / found
base (v.)
situate as a center of operations;
we will base this project in the new lab
base (v.)
use (purified cocaine) by burning it and inhaling the fumes;
Synonyms: free-base
4
Base (n.)
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;
Synonyms: al-Qaeda / Qaeda / al-Qa'ida / al-Qaida / al Qaeda / al Qaida
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.