Definition of basement in US English:



  • 1The floor of a building which is partly or entirely below ground level.

    • ‘His militia, the Army of the Mahdi, is running courts and jailing people in the basements of tenement buildings.’
    • ‘Normally she wouldn't be so concerned about blowing something up with such a small charge, but this time if the basements went the whole building would collapse in on itself.’
    • ‘There will be some space to hang out and a pool hall is in the basement of the Rumley Building.’
    • ‘The house is divided horizontally so that she has the basement and ground floor and he has the first and second.’
    • ‘It was built in the late 1950s, on six floors, with one flat on each floor and a basement.’
    • ‘Those who can't negotiate the grand staircases will be able to enter the building via the basement.’
    • ‘They all have two storeys - either basement and ground, or first floor and attic space.’
    • ‘Those forced to evacuate their homes near Great Falls were able to return within a few days and begin shoveling mud from their basements and replacing damaged floors and furniture.’
    • ‘Does he walk the townships with bodyguards on all sides, stopping to step inside ruined basements and first floors?’
    • ‘Stationary fuel cells can be installed in the basements of buildings to heat, cool and generate electricity for lights and appliances.’
    • ‘In Pernik, the Struma river broke through a dyke and flooded basements of nearby buildings, roads, and the town's central bus station.’
    • ‘He owned the lot - the basement and the first floor, the one above and the two above that.’
    • ‘They felt like the walls found in the basements of old buildings.’
    • ‘Right now there may only be 3-4 feet of standing water but, if you think about it, most files are kept in the basements or lower floors of courthouses.’
    • ‘The fire broke out beside a boiler in the basement of the building in the early hours of Friday morning.’
    • ‘The house itself had a total of four floors, if you counted my basement as a floor.’
    • ‘There is also an additional accommodation on the first floor and basement with a rear access.’
    • ‘He chose to live in the dark and dank bowels and basements of buildings, rejected by family and society.’
    • ‘Radon levels are generally highest in basements and ground floor rooms that are in contact with the soil.’
    • ‘He and Mr. Facey spread kitty litter on the basement floor to absorb the leaked oil.’
    cellar, vault, crypt, undercroft, underground room, catacomb
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    1. 1.1Geology The oldest formation of rocks underlying a particular area.
      • ‘However, basement rocks can also be inferred from exposures in the uplands that surround the basin.’
      • ‘These folds were interpreted by Seranne as forced folds formed by faulting in the underlying basement.’
      • ‘It was Sederholm's task to try to elucidate the complex rocks of the Finnish Precambrian basement.’
      • ‘The best preserved eclogites are found in mafic rocks hosted within the basement sequence.’
      • ‘The nature of the magnetic basement underlying the east side of the profile is enigmatic.’


Mid 18th century: probably from archaic Dutch basement ‘foundation’, perhaps from Italian basamento ‘column base’.