[ bey-sik ]
/ ˈbeɪ sɪk /
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Origin of basic

First recorded in 1835–45; base1 + -ic
non·ba·sic, adjectivequasi-basic, adjective
basic , BASIC

Definition for basic (2 of 2)

[ bey-sik ]
/ ˈbeɪ sɪk /

noun Computers.

a widely adopted programming language that uses English words, punctuation marks, and algebraic notation to facilitate communication between the operator or lay user and the computer.

Origin of BASIC

1965–70; B(eginner's)A(ll-purpose)S(ymbolic) I(nstruction)C(ode)
basic, BASIC
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What else does basic mean?

In slang, basic characterizes someone or something as unoriginal, unexceptional, and mainstream. A basic girl—or basic b*tch as she is often insulted—is said to like pumpkin spice lattes, UGG boots, and taking lots of selfies, for instance.

Where did the term basic come from?

According to Green’s Dictionary of Slang, basic emerges as slang for someone or something as being “unexciting, unexceptional, or uneventful” in the 1970s. This is an outgrowth of the negative sense of basic as “plain and simple”

The slang especially stuck to women. In their 1984 song “Meeting in the Ladies Room,” the R&B girl group Klymaxx call a woman basic for making moves on another’s boyfriend.

The 2000s saw the rise of the term basic b*tch, or a woman who is uninteresting and mainstream in her tastes, interests, style, or personality. Comedian Lil Duval had a 2009 video about the basic b*tch. The 2011 song “Gucci Gucci” by Kreayshawn features the hook: “And we stunting like / Gucci Gucci, Louis Louis, Fendi Fendi, Prada / Basic b*tches wear that shit so I don’t even bother.”

Basic has since become associated with unlikeable, predictable, and ordinary things, especially associated with young white women.

How to use the term basic

While basic can describe anyone or anything considered disagreeably mainstream, it especially insults, as noted, young white women. As basic and basic b*tch spread in popular culture, some women aren’t oblivious to their supposed basic-ness but ironically embrace it.


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

British Dictionary definitions for basic (1 of 2)

/ (ˈbeɪsɪk) /



(usually plural) a fundamental principle, fact, etc

British Dictionary definitions for basic (2 of 2)



/ (ˈbeɪsɪk) /


a computer programming language that uses common English terms
C20: acronym of b (eginner's) a (ll-purpose) s (ymbolic) i (nstruction) c (ode)
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

Medical definitions for basic

[ bāsĭk ]


Of, being, or serving as a starting point or basis.
Producing, resulting from, or relating to a base.
Containing a base, especially in excess of acid.
Containing oxide or hydroxide anions.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for basic

[ bāsĭk ]

A simple programming language developed in the 1960s that is widely taught to students as a first programming language.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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