Meaning of BASIC in English


1. more important or necessary than anything else

2. the feature or part of something that everything else depends on

3. basic ideas or principles

4. what you say to explain the most basic facts, reasons etc


see also





1. more important or necessary than anything else

▷ basic /ˈbeɪsɪk/ [adjective]

more important or necessary than anything else :

▪ The government regards housing as a basic need.

▪ The basic ingredients of this cake are eggs, flour, and butter.

▪ I can’t really speak Spanish, I just know a few basic words.

▪ basic human rights

▪ In addition to teaching basic academic skills, we offer a large variety of activities for students.

basic to

▪ Water -- indeed, everything basic to life here -- must be brought in by truck.

▷ fundamental /ˌfʌndəˈmentl◂/ [adjective]

more important or necessary than anything else -- use this especially about things such as principles, duties, or beliefs :

▪ the fundamental beliefs of Christianity

▪ Raising your child to tell the difference between right and wrong is one of the fundamental tasks of parenthood.

fundamental to

▪ Water is fundamental to survival.

▷ essential /ɪˈsenʃ ə l/ [adjective]

essential difference/feature/point etc

the most important difference, feature etc people should pay most attention to :

▪ The essential difference between this class and other French classes is that this is intended for business people.

▪ The essential point is that you both need to treat each other with much more respect.

▷ central /ˈsentrəl/ [adjective]

a subject, idea etc that is central gets more attention, time etc than others because it is more important than them :

▪ The central theme of this novel is the desire for money.

▪ Political rights have always been the central concern of feminism.

▪ The use of weapons became the central issue dividing the tribes.

central to

▪ The right to vote is central to our democratic system of government.

▷ underlying /ˌʌndəʳˈlaɪ-ɪŋ◂/ [adjective only before noun]

underlying reason/cause/aim etc

the most important reason, aim etc but one that is not easy to see :

▪ When treating any health problem, it’s always important to consider the underlying causes.

▪ The underlying factor in almost all suicides is the feeling of hopelessness.

2. the feature or part of something that everything else depends on

▷ basis /ˈbeɪsɪs, ˈbeɪsəs/ [singular noun]

the basis of something

▪ The basis of his argument was that people who sell drugs should be jailed for life.

▪ Sugar has always been the basis of the Cuban economy.

the basis for something

▪ Expert advice and support are the basis for the rehabilitation programme.

form the basis of something

▪ Roman law still forms the basis of our own legal system.

▷ foundation /faʊnˈdeɪʃ ə n/ [countable noun]

the foundation for something is the thing on which it is based - use this to talk about something important that continues a long time, for example a relationship, career, or system :

foundation for

▪ Good eating habits and regular exercise are the foundation for a healthy life.

▪ Teaching experience is a good foundation for a career in just about anything.

lay the foundations for something

▪ Copernicus’s findings laid the foundations for the later work of Galileo.

▷ the cornerstone /ðə ˈkɔːʳnəʳstəʊn/ [singular noun]

the thing that something else depends on in order to be successful - use this especially to talk about things that are very important in business and politics :

the cornerstone of

▪ The treaty of 1946 has been the cornerstone of European harmony.

▪ Increased sales to the under-25s will be the cornerstone of our marketing strategy in the coming year.

▷ the key /ðə ˈkiː/ [singular noun]

the most important thing that makes it possible to do or understand something :

the key to

▪ Nixon saw the improvement of relations with China as the key to his foreign policy.

▪ The theory of natural selection remains the key to our understanding of the natural world.

3. basic ideas or principles

▷ basics /ˈbeɪsɪks/ [plural noun]

the basic ideas, principles, rules etc, on which something is based :

the basics (of something)

▪ I still haven’t mastered the basics of English grammar.

▪ You need to learn the basics before you can start writing your own music.

get back to basics

▪ Unless we get back to basics in teaching, the standard of literacy will fall.

▷ the fundamentals /ðə ˌfʌndəˈmentlz/ [plural noun] formal

the most basic ideas, principles etc on which a subject is based :

the fundamentals of

▪ This course provides an opportunity to learn more about the fundamentals of film-making.

▪ Police have launched a campaign to educate children about the fundamentals of traffic safety.

▷ first principles /ˌfɜːʳst ˈprɪnsə̇p ə lz/ [plural noun]

the most basic ideas, principles etc on which a subject is based, and which you need to understand first or consider first before you can learn any more :

▪ No one can become a scientist without a knowledge of the first principles of mathematics.

return/go back to first principles

▪ To understand Keynesian theory we have to return to first principles.

4. what you say to explain the most basic facts, reasons etc

▷ basically /ˈbeɪsɪkli/ [adverb] spoken

say this when you want to talk about the most basic facts, reasons etc about something :

▪ Basically we’re looking for someone who can work three afternoons a week.

▪ We only took a few shirts and a pair of jeans. That’s basically it, really.

▪ The film appears to be quite complicated but it’s basically a love story.

▷ at the end of the day /ət ði ˌend əv ðə ˈdeɪ/ [adverb] British spoken

say this when you are saying what you think is basically true about a situation after considering all the facts :

▪ At the end of the day, the best team won.

▪ You may be working for yourself but at the end of the day you still have to pay tax on what you earn.

▷ essentially also in essence /ɪˈsenʃ ə li, ɪn ˈes ə ns/ [adverb] formal

use this when you are explaining what the basic truth about something is :

▪ She’s added a few characters and changed some names but essentially this is a true story.

▪ The theory of relativity is, in essence, very simple.

▷ in the final/last analysis /ɪn ðə ˌfaɪnl, ˌlɑːst əˈnæləsə̇sǁ-ˌlæst-/

use this to say what you think is the basic truth about a situation after considering all the facts carefully :

▪ In the final analysis Stalin was just as much a dictator as Hitler.

▪ The responsibility for the accident must, in the last analysis, rest with the captain.

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