[bask, bahsk]

verb (used without object)

to lie in or be exposed to a pleasant warmth: to bask in the sunshine.
to enjoy a pleasant situation: He basked in royal favor.

verb (used with object)

Obsolete. to expose to warmth or heat.

Origin of bask

1350–1400; Middle English < Old Norse bathask to bathe oneself, equivalent to bath- bath1 + -ask reflexive suffix Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for basking

Contemporary Examples of basking

Historical Examples of basking

  • To be with Evelyn was like basking in the sunshine of some happy sky!

  • He was basking in the frankly admiring gaze of Miss Knowles.

    Out of the Depths

    Robert Ames Bennet

  • We meet them in the shade of the woods, and have to pass them basking on the sea-shore.

    The Hour and the Man

    Harriet Martineau

  • And I resented his basking thus openly in the fires of martyrdom.

    The Prairie Mother

    Arthur Stringer

  • Also, a name in the south for the basking shark, from its habit of lying in the sunshine.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

British Dictionary definitions for basking


verb (intr usually foll by in)

to lie in or be exposed to pleasant warmth, esp that of the sun
to flourish or feel secure under some benevolent influence or favourable condition

Word Origin for bask

C14: from Old Norse bathask to bathe
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 basking

1742, present participle adjective from bask (v.). Basking shark is recorded from 1769.



late 14c., basken "to wallow (in blood)," with loss of middle syllable, from Old Norse baðask "to bathe oneself," reflexive of baða "bathe" (see bathe). Modern meaning "soak up a flood of warmth" is apparently due to Shakespeare's use of the word in reference to sunshine in "As You Like It" (1600). Related: Basked; basking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper