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  1. of, relating to, or forming a base; fundamental: a basic principle; the basic ingredient.
  2. Chemistry.
    1. pertaining to, of the nature of, or containing a base.
    2. not having all of the hydroxyls of the base replaced by the acid group, or having the metal or its equivalent united partly to the acid group and partly to oxygen.
    3. alkaline.
  3. Metallurgy. noting, pertaining to, or made by a steelmaking process (basic process) in which the furnace or converter is lined with a basic or nonsiliceous material, mainly burned magnesite and a small amount of ground basic slag, to remove impurities from the steel.Compare acid(def 9).
  4. Geology. (of a rock) having relatively little silica.
  5. Military.
    1. primary: basic training.
    2. of lowest rank: airman basic.
  6. Slang.
    1. (especially of a female) characterized by predictable or unoriginal style, interests, or behavior: those basic girls who follow trends.
    2. (of things) boringly predictable or unoriginal: His lyrics are just so basic.
  1. Military.
    1. basic training.
    2. a soldier or airman receiving basic training.
  2. Often basics. something that is fundamental or basic; an essential ingredient, principle, procedure, etc.: to learn the basics of music; to get back to basics.
  3. Slang. a person, especially a female, who is boringly predictable or unoriginal.

Origin of basic

First recorded in 1835–45; base1 + -ic
Related formsnon·ba·sic, adjectivequa·si-ba·sic, adjective
Can be confusedbasic BASIC

Synonyms for basic

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noun Computers.
  1. 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)
Can be confusedbasic BASIC Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for basics

foundation, nitty-gritty, principles, elements

Examples from the Web for basics

Contemporary Examples of basics

Historical Examples of basics

British Dictionary definitions for basics


  1. of, relating to, or forming a base or basis; fundamental; underlying
  2. elementary or simplea few basic facts
  3. excluding additions or extrasbasic pay
  4. chem
    1. of, denoting, or containing a base; alkaline
    2. (of a salt) containing hydroxyl or oxide groups not all of which have been replaced by an acid radicalbasic lead carbonate, 2PbCO 3 .Pb ( OH ) 2
  5. metallurgy of, concerned with, or made by a process in which the furnace or converter is made of a basic material, such as magnesium oxide
  6. (of such igneous rocks as basalt) containing between 52 and 45 per cent silica
  7. military primary or initialbasic training
  1. (usually plural) a fundamental principle, fact, etc



  1. a computer programming language that uses common English terms

Word Origin for BASIC

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

Word Origin and History for basics

"rudiments or fundamentals of anything," by 1934, from basic. Also see -ics. Phrase back-to-basics was in use by 1975.



1832, originally in chemistry, from base (n.) + -ic.


computer language, 1964, initialism for Beginners' All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code; invented by Hungarian-born U.S. computer scientist John G. Kemeny (1926-1992) and U.S. computer scientist Thomas E. Kurtz (b.1928).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

basics in Medicine


  1. Of, being, or serving as a starting point or basis.
  2. Producing, resulting from, or relating to a base.
  3. Containing a base, especially in excess of acid.
  4. 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.

basics in Science


  1. 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.