At bottom


the lowest or deepest part of anything, as distinguished from the top: the bottom of a hill; the bottom of a page. base, foot, pedestal.
the under or lower side; underside: the bottom of a typewriter.
the ground under any body of water: the bottom of the sea.
Usually, bottoms. Also called bottom land. Physical Geography. low alluvial land next to a river.
the part of a hull between the bilges, including the keel.
the part of a hull that is immersed at all times.
the cargo space in a vessel.
a cargo vessel.
the seat of a chair.
Informal. the buttocks; rump.
the fundamental part; basic aspect. foundation, groundwork, underlying principle.
bottoms, (used with a plural verb) the bottom part of a two-piece article of clothing, as a bathing suit or the trousers of a pair of pajamas.
the working part of a plow, comprising the plowshare, landside, and moldboard.
the cause; origin; basis: Try getting to the bottom of the problem. base, root, heart; ground, cause, beginning, wellspring.
the second half of an inning.
the last three players in the batting order.
lowest limit, especially of dignity, status, or rank: When people sink that low, they're bound to reach the bottom soon.
Slang. the submissive partner in a sexual relationship or encounter, especially the person who is penetrated in anal intercourse (opposed to top ).
Usually, bottoms. Chemistry. the heaviest, least volatile fraction of petroleum, left behind in distillation after more volatile fractions are driven off.
verb (used with object)
to furnish with a bottom.
to base or found (usually followed by on or upon ).
to discover the full meaning of (something); fathom.
to bring (a submarine) to rest on the ocean floor: They had to bottom the sub until the enemy cruisers had passed by.
verb (used without object)
to be based; rest.
to strike against the bottom or end; reach the bottom.
(of an automotive vehicle) to sink vertically, as when bouncing after passing over a bump, so that the suspension reaches the lower limit of its motion: The car bottomed too easily on the bumpy road.
of or pertaining to the bottom or a bottom.
located on or at the bottom: I want the bottom book in the stack.
lowest: bottom prices.
living near or on the bottom: A flounder is a bottom fish.
fundamental: the bottom cause.
Verb phrases
bottom out, to reach the lowest state or level: The declining securities market finally bottomed out and began to rise.
at bottom, in reality; fundamentally: They knew at bottom that they were only deceiving themselves. Also, at the bottom.
bet one's bottom dollar,
to wager the last of one's money or resources.
to be positive or assured: You can bet your bottom dollar that something will prevent us from leaving on time.
bottoms up, (used interjectionally to announce or urge the downing of one's drink).
hit bottom, to fall into the worst of all possible circumstances: After all those years of flying high, she finally hit bottom. When the housing market crashed, it really hit bottom, leaving people with houses worth less than their mortgages.

before 1000; Middle English botme, Old English botm; akin to Old Norse botn, Dutch bodem, German Boden, Latin fundus, Greek pythmḗn, Sanskrit budhná

unbottom, verb (used with object)
underbottom, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bottom (ˈbɒtəm)
1.  the lowest, deepest, or farthest removed part of a thing: the bottom of a hill
2.  the least important or successful position: the bottom of a class
3.  the ground underneath a sea, lake, or river
4.  touch bottom to run aground
5.  the inner depths of a person's true feelings (esp in the phrase from the bottom of one's heart)
6.  the underneath part of a thing
7.  nautical the parts of a vessel's hull that are under water
8.  (in literary or commercial contexts) a boat or ship
9.  billiards, snooker a strike in the centre of the cue ball
10.  a dry valley or hollow
11.  (US), (Canadian) (often plural) the low land bordering a river
12.  the lowest level worked in a mine
13.  (esp of horses) staying power; stamina
14.  importance, seriousness, or influence: his views all have weight and bottom
15.  informal the buttocks
16.  at bottom in reality; basically or despite appearances to the contrary: he's a kind man at bottom
17.  be at the bottom of to be the ultimate cause of
18.  get to the bottom of to discover the real truth about
19.  knock the bottom out of to destroy or eliminate
20.  lowest or last: the bottom price
21.  bet one's bottom dollar on, put one's bottom dollar on to be absolutely sure of (one's opinion, a person, project, etc)
22.  of, relating to, or situated at the bottom or a bottom: the bottom shelf
23.  fundamental; basic
vb (usually foll by on or upon) (foll by on)
24.  (tr) to provide (a chair, etc) with a bottom or seat
25.  (tr) to discover the full facts or truth of; fathom
26.  to base or be founded (on an idea, etc)
27.  (intr) nautical to strike the ground beneath the water with a vessel's bottom
28.  (Austral) mining
 a.  to mine (a hole, claim, etc) deep enough to reach any gold there is
 b.  to reach (gold, mud, etc) on bottoming
29.  electronics to saturate a transistor so that further increase of input produces no change in output
[Old English botm; related to Old Norse botn, Old High German bodam, Latin fundus, Greek puthmēn]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. botm, bodan "ground, soil, foundation, lowest part," from P.Gmc. *buthm- (cf. O.Fris. boden "soil," O.N. botn, Du. bodem, O.H.G. bodam, Ger. Boden "ground, earth, soil"), from PIE base *bhu(n)d(h)- (cf. Skt. budhnah, Avestan buna- "bottom," Gk. pythmen "foundation," L. fundus "bottom, piece of land,
farm," O.Ir. bond "sole of the foot"). Meaning "posterior of a man" is from 1794; the verb "to reach the bottom of" is from 1808. Bottom dollar "the last dollar one has" is from 1882.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

at bottom

Fundamentally, basically; also, in reality. For example, He may speak somewhat bluntly, but at bottom he's always honest. Charles Dickens used this idiom in Nicholas Nickleby (1838): "He's a good pony at bottom." [Early 1700s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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