[ bey-suhn ]
See synonyms for basin on
  1. a circular container with a greater width than depth, becoming smaller toward the bottom, used chiefly to hold water or other liquid, especially for washing.

  2. any container of similar shape, as the pan of a balance.

  1. the quantity held by such a container: We need another basin of water to dilute the mixture.

  2. a natural or artificial hollow place containing water.

  3. a partially enclosed, sheltered area along a shore, often partly man-made or dredged to a greater depth, where boats may be moored: a yacht basin.

  4. Geology. an area in which the strata dip from the margins toward a common center.

  5. Physical Geography.

    • a hollow or depression in the earth's surface, wholly or partly surrounded by higher land: river basin.

  6. Botany. the depression in an apple, pear, or other pome at the end opposite the stem.

Origin of basin

1175–1225; Middle English bacin<Old French <Late Latin bac(c)īnum (bacc(a) water vessel, back3 + -īnum-ine1); perhaps further related in Latin to beaker

Other words from basin

  • ba·sin·al, adjective
  • basined, adjective
  • ba·sin·like, adjective
  • in·ter·ba·sin, adjective
  • subbasin, noun

Words Nearby basin Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use basin in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for basin


/ (ˈbeɪsən) /

  1. a round container open and wide at the top with sides sloping inwards towards the bottom or base, esp one in which liquids are mixed or stored

  2. Also called: basinful the amount a basin will hold

  1. a washbasin or sink

  2. any partially enclosed or sheltered area where vessels may be moored or docked

  3. the catchment area of a particular river and its tributaries or of a lake or sea

  4. a depression in the earth's surface

  5. geology a part of the earth's surface consisting of rock strata that slope down to a common centre

Origin of basin

C13: from Old French bacin, from Late Latin bacchīnon, from Vulgar Latin bacca (unattested) container for water; related to Latin bāca berry

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

Scientific definitions for basin


[ sĭn ]

  1. A region drained by a river and its tributaries.

  2. A low-lying area on the Earth's surface in which thick layers of sediment have accumulated. Some basins are bowl-shaped while others are elongate. Basins form through tectonic processes, especially in fault-bordered intermontane areas or in areas where the Earth's crust has warped downwards. They are often a source of valuable oil.

  1. An artificially enclosed area of a river or harbor designed so that the water level remains unaffected by tidal changes.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.