1. The act of founding, especially the establishment of an institution with provisions for future maintenance.
2. Architecture A wall or other structure, as of concrete or masonry, usually extending below ground level and forming the base upon which a building rests.
3. Something that gives rise to or supports something else. See Synonyms at base1.
a. Funds for the perpetual support of an institution; an endowment.
b. An institution founded and supported by an endowment.
5. A cosmetic used as a base for facial makeup.
6. A supporting undergarment, such as a corset or girdle, designed to give the body a more desirable shape. Also called foundation garment.
[Middle English fundacioun, from Latin fundātiō, fundātiōn-, from fundātus, past participle of fundāre, to lay the groundwork for; see FOUND1.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.