# Base vs. Basis: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on September 28, 2023
"Base" refers to the bottom or foundation of something, while "Basis" means the fundamental principle or groundwork supporting an idea or system.

## Key Differences

"Base" and "Basis" are two words in the English language that, while related, have distinct uses and meanings. Their nuanced differences can be seen in the various contexts they are applied to.
"Base" often alludes to the bottom part or foundation of a physical structure or object. A mountain has a base, as does a building. Conversely, "Basis" typically speaks to a foundational principle, reason, or groundwork. It's an underpinning for arguments, decisions, or systems.
When considering the word "Base," it can also signify a main ingredient in preparations like makeup or even a primary element in various contexts. On the other hand, "Basis" leans more towards the abstract, referring often to foundational truths or reasons. For instance, a decision might be made on the basis of certain evidence.
In mathematics, "Base" might be used to refer to the number that gets multiplied by itself, as in exponents. "Basis," in contrast, can be employed in linear algebra, describing a set of vectors.
Conclusively, while both "Base" and "Basis" deal with foundations, "Base" is more tangible and "Basis" more conceptual, serving as a premise or rationale behind something.

## Comparison Chart

### Definition

The bottom or foundation of something.
The fundamental principle or groundwork.

Noun/Verb
Noun

### Common Usage

Refers to physical foundations or main ingredients.
Used to describe the main reason or principle behind something.

### In Mathematics

The number used in exponentiation.
Set of vectors in linear algebra.

### Conceptual vs. Physical

More physical or tangible.
More conceptual or abstract.

## Base and Basis Definitions

#### Base

The bottom support of anything.
The vase has a wide base to prevent tipping.

#### Basis

The fundamental principle or groundwork.
Respect is the basis of our relationship.

#### Base

Main ingredient or element.
Water is the base of this soup.

#### Basis

The main reason or cause.
The decision was made on the basis of facts.

#### Base

A center of operations or activities.
The army set up a base in the desert.

#### Basis

A fixed pattern or system.
She works on a rotational basis.

#### Base

In mathematics, the number used as the repeated factor.
In 2^3, 2 is the base.

#### Basis

The underlying condition or state.
A daily basis involves routine tasks.

#### Base

The lowest or bottom part
The base of a cliff.
The base of a lamp.

#### Basis

A fact or circumstance on which something is established
Rumors with no basis in reality.

#### Base

The part of a plant or animal organ that is nearest to its point of attachment.

#### Basis

A physical base or foundation.

#### Base

The point of attachment of such an organ.

#### Basis

A starting point, base or foundation for an argument or hypothesis.

#### Base

A supporting part or layer; a foundation
A skyscraper built on a base of solid rock.

#### Basis

An underlying condition or circumstance.

#### Base

A basic or underlying element; infrastructure
The nation's industrial base.

#### Basis

A regular frequency.
You should brush your teeth on a daily basis at minimum.
The flights to Fiji leave on a weekly basis.
Cars must be checked on a yearly basis.

#### Base

The fundamental principle or underlying concept of a system or theory; a basis.

#### Basis

The difference between the cash price a dealer pays to a farmer for his produce and an agreed reference price, which is usually the futures price at which the given crop is trading at a commodity exchange.

#### Base

A fundamental ingredient; a chief constituent
A paint with an oil base.

#### Basis

(linear algebra) In a vector space, a linearly independent set of vectors spanning the whole vector space.

#### Base

The fact, observation, or premise from which a reasoning process is begun.

#### Basis

(accounting) Amount paid for an investment, including commissions and other expenses.

#### Base

(Games) A starting point, safety area, or goal.

#### Basis

(topology) A collection of subsets ("basis elements") of a set, such that this collection covers the set, and for any two basis elements which both contain an element of the set, there is a third basis element contained in the intersection of the first two, which also contains that element.
The collection of all possible unions of basis elements of a basis is said to be the topology generated by that basis.

#### Base

(Baseball) Any one of the four corners of an infield, marked by a bag or plate, that must be touched by a runner before a run can be scored.

#### Basis

The foundation of anything; that on which a thing rests.

#### Base

A center of organization, supply, or activity; a headquarters.

#### Basis

The pedestal of a column, pillar, or statue.
If no basis bear my rising name.

#### Base

The portion of a social organization, especially a political party, consisting of the most dedicated or motivated members.

#### Basis

The groundwork; the first or fundamental principle; that which supports.
The basis of public credit is good faith.

#### Base

A fortified center of operations.

#### Basis

The principal component part of a thing.

#### Base

A supply center for a large force of military personnel.

#### Basis

A relation that provides the foundation for something;
They were on a friendly footing
He worked on an interim basis

#### Base

A facial cosmetic used to even out the complexion or provide a surface for other makeup; a foundation.

#### Basis

The fundamental assumptions from which something is begun or developed or calculated or explained;
The whole argument rested on a basis of conjecture

#### Base

(Architecture) The lowest part of a structure, such as a wall, considered as a separate unit
The base of a column.

#### Basis

The most important or necessary part of something;
The basis of this drink is orange juice

#### Base

(Heraldry) The lower part of a shield.

#### Basis

In linear algebra, a set of vectors from which others can be generated.
He studied the basis of the vector space in class.

#### Base

(Linguistics) A morpheme or morphemes regarded as a form to which affixes or other bases may be added.

#### Base

The side or face of a geometric figure to which an altitude is or is thought to be drawn.

#### Base

The number that is raised to various powers to generate the principal counting units of a number system. The base of the decimal system, for example, is 10.

#### Base

The number raised to the logarithm of a designated number in order to produce that designated number; the number at which a chosen logarithmic scale has the value 1.

#### Base

A line used as a reference for measurement or computations.

#### Base

Any of a class of compounds whose aqueous solutions are characterized by a bitter taste, a slippery feel, the ability to turn litmus blue, and the ability to react with acids to form salts.

#### Base

A substance that yields hydroxide ions when dissolved in water.

#### Base

A substance that can act as a proton acceptor.

#### Base

A substance that can donate a pair of electrons to form a covalent bond.

#### Base

The region in a transistor between the emitter and the collector.

#### Base

The electrode attached to this region.

#### Base

One of the nitrogen-containing purines (adenine and guanine) or pyrimidines (cytosine, thymine, and uracil) that occurs attached to the sugar component of DNA or RNA.

#### Base

A bass singer or voice.

#### Base

Forming or serving as a base
A base layer of soil.

#### Base

Situated at or near the base or bottom
A base camp for the mountain climbers.

#### Base

(Chemistry) Of, relating to, or containing a base.

#### Base

Having or showing a lack of decency; contemptible, mean-spirited, or selfish.

#### Base

Being a metal that is of little value.

#### Base

Containing such metals
Base coins.

#### Base

(Archaic) Of low birth, rank, or position.

#### Base

(Obsolete) Short in stature.

#### Base

To form or provide a base for
Based the new company in Portland.

#### Base

To find a basis for; establish
Based her conclusions on the report.
A film based on a best-selling novel.

#### Base

To assign to a base; station
Troops based in the Middle East.

#### Base

Something from which other things extend; a foundation.

#### Base

A supporting, lower or bottom component of a structure or object.

#### Base

The starting point of a logical deduction or thought; basis.

#### Base

A permanent structure for housing military personnel and material.

#### Base

A basic but essential component or ingredient.

#### Base

A substance used as a mordant in dyeing.

#### Base

(cosmetics) Foundation: a cosmetic cream to make the face appear uniform.

#### Base

(chemistry) Any of a class of generally water-soluble compounds, having bitter taste, that turn red litmus blue, and react with acids to form salts.

#### Base

Important areas in games and sports.

#### Base

A safe zone in the children's games of tag and hide-and-go-seek.

#### Base

(baseball) One of the four places that a runner can stand without being subject to being tagged out when the ball is in play.

#### Base

(architecture) The lowermost part of a column, between the shaft and the pedestal or pavement.

#### Base

A nucleotide's nucleobase in the context of a DNA or RNA biopolymer.

#### Base

(botany) The end of a leaf, petal or similar organ where it is attached to its support.

#### Base

(electronics) The name of the controlling terminal of a bipolar transistor (BJT).

#### Base

(geometry) The lowest side of a triangle or other polygon, or the lowest face of a cone, pyramid or other polyhedron laid flat.

#### Base

(heraldry) The lowest third of a shield or escutcheon.

#### Base

(heraldry) The lower part of the field. See escutcheon.

#### Base

(mathematics) A number raised to the power of an exponent.
The logarithm to base 2 of 8 is 3.

#### Base

(topology) The set of sets from which a topology is generated.

#### Base

(topology) A topological space, looked at in relation to one of its covering spaces, fibrations, or bundles.

#### Base

(group theory) A sequence of elements not jointly stabilized by any nontrivial group element.

#### Base

In hand-to-hand balance, the person who supports the flyer; the person that remains in contact with the ground.

#### Base

(linguistics) A morpheme (or morphemes) that serves as a basic foundation on which affixes can be attached.

(music) bass

#### Base

The smallest kind of cannon.

#### Base

(archaic) The housing of a horse.

#### Base

A kind of skirt (often of velvet or brocade, but sometimes of mail or other armour) which hung from the middle to about the knees, or lower.

#### Base

(obsolete) The lower part of a robe or petticoat.

#### Base

(obsolete) An apron.

#### Base

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.

#### Base

(politics) A group of voters who almost always support a single party's candidates for elected office.

#### Base

(Marxism) The forces and relations of production that produce the necessities and amenities of life.

#### Base

A material that holds paint or other materials together; a binder.

#### Base

(aviation) base leg

#### Base

(slang) freebase cocaine

#### Base

The game of prisoners' bars.

#### Base

Alternative form of BASE

#### Base

(transitive) To give as its foundation or starting point; to lay the foundation of.

#### Base

(transitive) To be located (at a particular place).

#### Base

To act as a base; to be the person supporting the flyer.

#### Base

(slang) To freebase.

#### Base

(obsolete) Low in height; short.

#### Base

Low in place or position.

#### Base

(obsolete) Of low value or degree.

#### Base

(archaic) Of low social standing or rank; vulgar, common.

#### Base

Morally reprehensible, immoral; cowardly.

#### Base

Inferior; unworthy, of poor quality.

#### Base

(of a metal) Not considered precious or noble.

#### Base

Alloyed with inferior metal; debased.
Base coin
Base bullion

#### Base

(obsolete) Of illegitimate birth; bastard.

#### Base

Not classical or correct.

#### Base

Obsolete form of bass
The base tone of a violin

#### Base

(legal) Not held by honourable service.
A base estate is one held by services not honourable, or held by villenage. Such a tenure is called base, or low, and the tenant is a base tenant.

#### Base

Of little, or less than the usual, height; of low growth; as, base shrubs.

#### Base

Low in place or position.

#### Base

Of humble birth; or low degree; lowly; mean.

#### Base

Illegitimate by birth; bastard.
Why bastard? wherefore base?

#### Base

Of little comparative value, as metal inferior to gold and silver, the precious metals.

#### Base

Alloyed with inferior metal; debased; as, base coin; base bullion.

#### Base

Morally low. Hence: Low-minded; unworthy; without dignity of sentiment; ignoble; mean; illiberal; menial; as, a base fellow; base motives; base occupations.

#### Base

Not classical or correct.

#### Base

Deep or grave in sound; as, the base tone of a violin.

#### Base

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.

#### Base

The bottom of anything, considered as its support, or that on which something rests for support; the foundation; as, the base of a statue.

#### Base

Fig.: The fundamental or essential part of a thing; the essential principle; a groundwork.

#### Base

The lower part of a wall, pier, or column, when treated as a separate feature, usually in projection, or especially ornamented.

#### Base

That extremity of a leaf, fruit, etc., at which it is attached to its support.

#### Base

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.

#### Base

The chief ingredient in a compound.

#### Base

A substance used as a mordant.

#### Base

The exterior side of the polygon, or that imaginary line which connects the salient angles of two adjacent bastions.

#### Base

The line or surface constituting that part of a figure on which it is supposed to stand.

#### Base

The number from which a mathematical table is constructed; as, the base of a system of logarithms.

#### Base

A low, or deep, sound. (Mus.) (a) The lowest part; the deepest male voice. (b) One who sings, or the instrument which plays, base.
The trebles squeak for fear, the bases roar.

#### Base

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.

#### Base

The smallest kind of cannon.

#### Base

That part of an organ by which it is attached to another more central organ.

#### Base

The basal plane of a crystal.

#### Base

The ground mass of a rock, especially if not distinctly crystalline.

#### Base

The lower part of the field. See Escutcheon.

#### Base

The housing of a horse.

#### Base

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.

#### Base

The lower part of a robe or petticoat.

An apron.

#### Base

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.

#### Base

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.

#### Base

A rustic play; - called also prisoner's base, prison base, or bars.

#### Base

Any one of the four bounds which mark the circuit of the infield.

#### Base

To put on a base or basis; to lay the foundation of; to found, as an argument or conclusion; - used with on or upon.

#### Base

To abase; to let, or cast, down; to lower.
If any . . . based his pike.

#### Base

To reduce the value of; to debase.
Metals which we can not base.

#### Base

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

#### Base

Installation from which a military force initiates operations;
The attack wiped out our forward bases

#### Base

Lowest support of a structure;
It was built on a base of solid rock
He stood at the foot of the tower

#### Base

Place that runner must touch before scoring;
He scrambled to get back to the bag

#### Base

(numeration system) the positive integer that is equivalent to one in the next higher counting place;
10 is the radix of the decimal system

#### Base

The bottom or lowest part;
The base of the mountain

#### Base

(anatomy) the part of an organ nearest its point of attachment;
The base of the skull

#### Base

A lower limit;
The government established a wage floor

#### Base

The fundamental assumptions from which something is begun or developed or calculated or explained;
The whole argument rested on a basis of conjecture

#### Base

A support or foundation;
The base of the lamp

#### Base

The bottom side of a geometric figure from which the altitude can be constructed;
The base of the triangle

#### Base

The most important or necessary part of something;
The basis of this drink is orange juice

#### Base

The place where you are stationed and from which missions start and end

#### Base

An intensely anti-western terrorist network that dispenses money and logistical support and training to a wide variety of radical Islamic terrorist group; has cells in more than 50 countries

#### Base

(linguistics) the form of a word after all affixes are removed;
Thematic vowels are part of the stem

#### Base

The stock of basic facilities and capital equipment needed for the functioning of a country or area;
The industrial base of Japan

#### Base

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

#### Base

A flat bottom on which something is intended to sit;
A tub should sit on its own base

#### Base

(electronics) the part of a transistor that separates the emitter from the collector

#### Base

Use as a basis for; found on;
Base a claim on some observation

#### Base

Use (purified cocaine) by burning it and inhaling the fumes

#### Base

Assign to a station

#### Base

Serving as or forming a base;
The painter applied a base coat followed by two finishing coats

#### Base

(used of metals) consisting of or alloyed with inferior metal;
Base coins of aluminum
A base metal

#### Base

Of low birth or station (`base' is archaic in this sense);
Baseborn wretches with dirty faces
Of humble (or lowly) birth

#### Base

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

#### Base

Having or showing an ignoble lack of honor or morality;
That liberal obedience without which your army would be a base rabble
Chok'd with ambition of the meaner sort
Something essentially vulgar and meanspirited in politics

Illegitimate

#### Base

Debased; not genuine;
An attempt to eliminate the base coinage

#### Base

Starting point or foundation for something.
We made the treehouse's base from strong oak.

## FAQs

#### Is "Basis" typically tangible or intangible?

"Basis" is more often intangible, referring to concepts or reasons.

#### What does "on a regular basis" mean?

It means routinely or frequently.

#### Can "Base" have a mathematical meaning?

Yes, as in the number used in exponentiation.

#### Can "Base" refer to a location?

Yes, such as a military base or home base in baseball.

#### What's a "basis point" in finance?

It's 1/100th of a percentage point.

#### Can "Base" indicate the main part of something?

Yes, like the base model of a car.

#### Can "Base" mean low or inferior?

In some contexts, "base" can mean morally low.

#### Can "Basis" be a set in mathematics?

Yes, especially in linear algebra to describe vectors.

#### Is a "Base" always the bottom part?

Typically, but it can also mean the main or starting part.

#### Can "Base" be used in cooking contexts?

Yes, as in "tomato is the base for the sauce."

#### Does "Basis" imply a foundational reason?

Yes, it often refers to the main reason or principle.

#### How is "Base" used in chemistry?

It refers to substances that can accept protons or donate pairs of electrons.

#### Is "Basis" used in legal contexts?

Yes, to describe the main reason or grounds for something.

#### Can "Base" and "Basis" be used interchangeably?

Not always, as they have distinct nuances and applications.

#### How do "basis of" and "base for" differ?

"Basis of" usually implies a reasoning, while "base for" is often more tangible.