Definition of basis in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbāsəs/

noun (plural bases /-sēz/)

1The underlying support or foundation for an idea, argument, or process: trust is the only basis for a good working relationship
More example sentences
  • He laid the basis for modern ideas of democracy and the legitimacy of majority rule.
  • You will recall that in our alternative arguments we submit two bases for a finding of the true value of the asset purchased.
  • They both took issue with the logical basis of the Design argument.
1.1The system or principles according to which an activity or process is carried on: she needed coaching on a regular basis flea markets operate on a cash-only basis
More example sentences
  • They also require evidence that these checks are carried out on a regular basis by staff at the home.
  • We intend to carry out similar operations on a regular basis over the coming months.
  • Visit your dentist or hygienist to have your teeth scaled and polished on a regular basis.
starting point, base, point of departure, beginning, premise, fundamental point/principle, principal constituent, main ingredient, cornerstone, core, heart, thrust, essence, kernel, nub
footing, condition, status, position;
arrangement, system, method
1.2The justification for or reasoning behind something: on the basis of these statistics, important decisions are made
More example sentences
  • The second is that programmes can only be justified on the basis of how many people watch them.
  • An order will always have to be justified on the basis of the child's welfare.
  • We try to figure out what is so, reasoning on the basis of what we already know.
foundation, support, base;
reasoning, rationale, defense;
reason, grounds, justification, motivation


Late 16th century (denoting a base or pedestal): via Latin from Greek, 'stepping'. Compare with base1.

  • base from Middle English:

    There are two different words spelled as ‘base’ in English. The old-fashioned one meaning ‘low, ignoble’ comes from Latin bassus ‘short’, also the source of to abase (Late Middle English). The low musical bass (Late Middle English) and the bassoon (early 18th century) come from the same source. The other base comes, along with basis (late 16th century) and basic (mid 19th century), via Latin from Greek basis, which meant ‘step’ and ‘pedestal’. Its first English meaning was ‘the pedestal of a statue’. Basement (mid 18th century) probably comes via archaic Dutch basement ‘foundation’, from Italian basamento ‘base of a column’, from basis.

    Although baseball is primarily an American game the earliest recorded use of the word is actually from Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey: ‘It was not very wonderful that Catherine…should prefer cricket, base ball…to books.’ Phrases drawn from the US game are familiar elsewhere. A notable example is to touch base, ‘to briefly make or renew contact with something or somebody’. Other phrases using base include to get to first base, ‘to achieve the first step towards your objective’, and off base, ‘mistaken’, though these are still primarily American. See also bat

Words that rhyme with basis

oasis, stasis

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ba·sis

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