Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The substructure or foundation of a building.
  • n. The lowest habitable story of a building, usually below ground level.
  • n. Geology A complex of undifferentiated igneous and metamorphic rocks underlying sedimentary strata.
  • n. Slang The last place or lowest level, as in competitive standings.
  • n. Chiefly New England A public toilet, especially one in a school.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A floor of a building below ground level.
  • n. Last place in a sports conference standings.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The outer wall of the ground story of a building, or of a part of that story, when treated as a distinct substructure. (See base, n., 3 (a).) Hence: The rooms of a ground floor, collectively.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The lower or fundamental portion; a base.
  • n. In architecture: The portion of the elevation of a structure which performs the function in the design of constituting a support to those portions which come above it; especially, the substructure of a columnar or arched construction, but also the lowest member in the design of a wall, etc. Compare base, 3.
  • n. A floor or story which is wholly or in part beneath the surface of the ground, but is usually, as distinguished from a cellar, well lighted, and fitted up and used for household or other usual purposes.
  • n. The act of basing, or the state of being based.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the lowermost portion of a structure partly or wholly below ground level; often used for storage
  • n. the ground floor facade or interior in Renaissance architecture

Etymologies

Probably base1 + -ment (perhaps influenced by French soubassement, subfoundation).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Slamming my head repeatedly against the steel support post in the basement is the only certain solution, but I might wake up a Republican congressman. hc carey says:

    Matthew Yglesias » Will Blog for Food

  • The flood in the basement is a less uplifting indicator that a major thaw is underway.

    Archive 2008-03-01

  • It was amongst the jars my mother-in-love gave me many years ago from her fruit room that's what she called her basement canning storage room.

    Jars & bottles & memories...

  • The scene in the basement is a flower-power nightmare version of the daytime variety shows on Japanese television.

    Let’s Die Together

  • He then started talking about the Country Music Hall of Fame and how he wished he could go into what he called the basement to see where they keep "the good stuff."

    Newscoma

  • The next day, do the same with what I call basement letters.

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  • The basement is close, but the path, as always, is blocked.

    NaNoWriMo Post 1: Talos’ Story « The Graveyard

  • Anything older would be ‘bargain basement’, deserving (at best) $0.99 apiece.

    Coyote Blog » Blog Archive » Amazon and Macmillan

  • Instead of getting all vexed, Scooby and Shaggy-style, they should have thanked his blonde temp ... tress (Ali Larter doing a bargain basement impression of Sharon Stone at her most bargain basement) for adding some excitement to their lives.

    fourfour:

  • The new price is not exactly a bargain basement sum, but more certainly palatable than before.

    Amazon drops Kindle 2 price to $299

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Comments

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  • In castles (and I guess elsewhere too), a secure storage space.

    August 24, 2008