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noun Also base line.
  1. Baseball. the area between bases within which a base runner must keep when running from one base to another.
  2. Tennis. the line at each end of a tennis court, parallel to the net, that marks the in-bounds limit of play.
  3. (in perspective drawing) a horizontal line in the immediate foreground formed by the intersection of the ground plane and the picture plane.
  4. a basic standard or level; guideline: to establish a baseline for future studies.
  5. a specific value or values that can serve as a comparison or control.
  6. Typography. the imaginary line on which the bottoms of primary letters align.
  7. Surveying. See under triangulation(def 1).
  8. Electronics. a horizontal or vertical line formed on the face of a cathode-ray tube by the sweep of the scanning dot.
  9. Naval Architecture. a line on the body plan or sheer plan of a hull, representing a horizontal reference plane for vertical dimensions.
  1. basic or essential.

Origin of baseline

First recorded in 1740–50; base1 + line1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for baseline


  1. surveying a measured line through a survey area from which triangulations are made
  2. an imaginary line, standard of value, etc, by which things are measured or compared
  3. a line at each end of a tennis court that marks the limit of play
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for baseline

also base-line, 1750, originally in surveying, from base (n.) + line (n.). Baseball diamond sense is from 1867. Baseline estimate in use by 1983.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper