What do a.m. and p.m. stand for?


[bey-suh l, -zuh l] /ˈbeɪ səl, -zəl/
of, at, or forming the base.
forming a basis; fundamental; basic.
  1. indicating a standard low level of activity of an organism, as during total rest.
  2. of an amount required to maintain this level.
Medicine/Medical. serving to induce a preliminary or light anesthesia prior to total anesthetization.
Origin of basal
1820-30; base1 + -al1
Related forms
basally, adverb
prebasal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for basal
  • Thin, noticeably downcurved bill, blue-gray on the basal half lower mandible.
  • Bill slightly downcurved, thicker at base with basal third of lower mandible blue-gray.
  • Secondaries and primaries dark brownish gray, secondaries and basal portions of primaries spotted with buff.
  • The problem is widely believed to begin in the basal ganglia, the part of the brain that controls motor function.
  • basal cell cancer starts in the lowest part of the epidermis, in round cells called basal cells.
  • Specific areas of the brain, such as the basal ganglia, are more likely to be injured from liver failure.
  • The basal component of the treatment attempts to provide a steady amount of background insulin throughout the day.
  • Virtually all basal and squamous type skin cancers can be cured if treated early.
  • basal cell cancer is rarely staged, because it doesn't usually spread to other organs.
  • He told her not to worry, it was probably a basal cell.
British Dictionary definitions for basal


at, of, or constituting a base
of or constituting a foundation or basis; fundamental; essential
Derived Forms
basally, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for basal

"relating to a base," 1828, from base (n.) + -al (1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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basal in Medicine

basal ba·sal (bā'səl, -zəl)

  1. Of, relating to, located at, or forming a base, usually of an organ or a tooth.

  2. Of, relating to, of situated at the lowest level, as of an organ.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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