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[bey-suh n] /ˈbeɪ sən/
a circular container with a greater width than depth, becoming smaller toward the bottom, used chiefly to hold water or other liquid, especially for washing.
any container of similar shape, as the pan of a balance.
the quantity held by such a container:
We need another basin of water to dilute the mixture.
a natural or artificial hollow place containing water.
a partially enclosed, sheltered area along a shore, often partly man-made or dredged to a greater depth, where boats may be moored:
a yacht basin.
Geology. an area in which the strata dip from the margins toward a common center.
Physical Geography.
  1. a hollow or depression in the earth's surface, wholly or partly surrounded by higher land:
    river basin.
  2. drainage basin.
Botany. the depression in an apple, pear, or other pome at the end opposite the stem.
1175-1225; Middle English bacin < Old French < Late Latin bac(c)īnum (bacc(a) water vessel, back3 + -īnum -ine1); perhaps further related in Latin to beaker
Related forms
basinal, adjective
basined, adjective
basinlike, adjective
interbasin, adjective
subbasin, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for basin
  • He suffered from poor eyesight, which he tried to treat by dunking his head into a basin of cold water, eyes open.
  • The entire Amazon basin contains the largest number of freshwater fish .
  • Loosely structured as a travelogue, this first-person account describes the author's trip to the heart of the Amazon basin.
  • The lakes of the basin are clogged with algae, .
  • Lykavittos is the tallest hill in the Athens basin with an altitude of 968 feet, offering sweeping views of the city.
  • Last winter a third of the usual amount of snow fell in the mountains around the basin.
  • Water pours from the saucer in a silky curtain into the basin below.
  • The Ogallala is a designated ground water basin.
  • Fossils were everywhere in this basin.
  • Shell fish intolerant of ice cover live all around the arctic basin.
British Dictionary definitions for basin


a round container open and wide at the top with sides sloping inwards towards the bottom or base, esp one in which liquids are mixed or stored
Also called basinful. the amount a basin will hold
a washbasin or sink
any partially enclosed or sheltered area where vessels may be moored or docked
the catchment area of a particular river and its tributaries or of a lake or sea
a depression in the earth's surface
(geology) a part of the earth's surface consisting of rock strata that slope down to a common centre
Word Origin
C13: from Old French bacin, from Late Latin bacchīnon, from Vulgar Latin bacca (unattested) container for water; related to Latin bāca berry
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 basin

"large shallow vessel or dish," c.1200, from Old French bacin (11c., Modern French bassin), from Vulgar Latin *baccinum, from *bacca "water vessel," perhaps originally Gaulish. Meaning "large-scale artificial water-holding landscape feature" is from 1712. Geological sense of "tract of country drained by one river or draining into one sea" is from 1830.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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basin in Science
  1. A region drained by a river and its tributaries.

  2. A low-lying area on the Earth's surface in which thick layers of sediment have accumulated. Some basins are bowl-shaped while others are elongate. Basins form through tectonic processes, especially in fault-bordered intermontane areas or in areas where the Earth's crust has warped downwards. They are often a source of valuable oil.

  3. An artificially enclosed area of a river or harbor designed so that the water level remains unaffected by tidal changes.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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basin in the Bible

or Bason. (1.) A trough or laver (Heb. aggan') for washing (Ex. 24:6); rendered also "goblet" (Cant. 7:2) and "cups" (Isa. 22:24). (2.) A covered dish or urn (Heb. k'for) among the vessels of the temple (1 Chr. 28:17; Ezra 1:10; 8:27). (3.) A vase (Heb. mizrak) from which to sprinkle anything. A metallic vessel; sometimes rendered "bowl" (Amos 6:6; Zech. 9:15). The vessels of the tabernacle were of brass (Ex. 27:3), while those of the temple were of gold (2 Chr. 4:8). (4.) A utensil (Heb. saph) for holding the blood of the victims (Ex. 12:22); also a basin for domestic purposes (2 Sam. 17:28). The various vessels spoken of by the names "basin, bowl, charger, cup, and dish," cannot now be accurately distinguished. The basin in which our Lord washed the disciples' feet (John 13:5) must have been larger and deeper than the hand-basin.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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