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basic - definition and synonyms


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adjective basic pronunciation in American English /ˈbeɪsɪk/

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  1. 1
    forming the main or most important part of something, without which it cannot really exist
    Rice is the basic ingredient of the dish.
    We have the basic framework for an agreement.
    basic to: Honesty and trust are basic to a good relationship.
    1. a.
      basic ideas or skills are the ones you must know or learn in order to understand or do something
      Once you’ve mastered the basic principles of using a computer, you can move on.
      basic military training
    2. b.
      used for emphasizing that you are talking about the most important part of a situation
      The basic question is how long can this go on?
      There are two basic choices: make a fuss or do nothing.
      Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    basic products and services are ones that everyone needs such as food, medicine, and fuel
    Basic foods such as soy beans and rice were being flown into the disaster zone.
    The state provides only basic health care.
    The money they earned did not even cover their most basic needs.
  3. 3
    simple and with no special features
    basic cooking equipment
    The accommodations are rather basic.
    1. a.
      not very advanced, or not very complicated
      My French is pretty basic, but I can get by.
  4. 4
    with no extra amounts of money included or charged
    Sales reps receive a basic salary plus commission.
    See also basics


a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

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a stupid person

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an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

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