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Definition: Base metal
(? or ?; 277), n. [F. m['e]tal, L. metallum
metal, mine, Gr. ? mine; cf. Gr. ? to search after. Cf.
1. (Chem.) An elementary substance, as sodium, calcium, or
copper, whose oxide or hydroxide has basic rather than
acid properties, as contrasted with the nonmetals, or
metalloids. No sharp line can be drawn between the metals
and nonmetals, and certain elements partake of both acid
and basic qualities, as chromium, manganese, bismuth, etc.
Note: Popularly, the name is applied to certain hard, fusible
metals, as gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, lead, zinc,
nickel, etc., and also to the mixed metals, or metallic
alloys, as brass, bronze, steel, bell metal, etc.
2. Ore from which a metal is derived; -- so called by miners.
3. A mine from which ores are taken. [Obs.]
Slaves . . . and persons condemned to metals. --Jer.
4. The substance of which anything is made; material; hence,
constitutional disposition; character; temper.
Not till God make men of some other metal than
5. Courage; spirit; mettle. See Mettle
Note: The allusion is to the temper of the metal of a sword
6. The broken stone used in macadamizing roads and ballasting
7. The effective power or caliber of guns carried by a vessel
8. Glass in a state of fusion. --Knight.
9. pl. The rails of a railroad. [Eng.]
(Chem.), any one of the metals, as iron, lead,
etc., which are readily tarnished or oxidized, in contrast
with the noble metals. In general, a metal of small value,
as compared with gold or silver.
(Metal.), a very fusible alloy, usually
consisting of bismuth with lead, tin, or cadmium.
(Chem.), the metallic elements not included in
the groups of the alkalies, alkaline earths, or the
earths; specifically, the heavy metals, as gold, mercury,
platinum, lead, silver, etc.
(Chem.), the metallic elements of the alkali
and alkaline earth groups, as sodium, lithium, calcium,
magnesium, etc.; also, sometimes, the metals of the
earths, as aluminium.
, an alloy for sheathing and other purposes,
consisting of about sixty per cent of copper, and forty of
zinc. Sometimes a little lead is added. It is named from
(Old Chem.), an alloy resembling brass,
consisting of three parts of copper to one of zinc; --
also called Prince Rupert's metal
(b[=a]s), a. [OE. bass, F. bas, low, fr. LL. bassus
thick, fat, short, humble; cf. L. Bassus, a proper name, and
W. bas shallow. Cf. Bass
a part in music.]
1. Of little, or less than the usual, height; of low growth;
as, base shrubs. [Archaic] --Shak.
2. Low in place or position. [Obs.] --Shak.
3. Of humble birth; or low degree; lowly; mean. [Archaic] “A
peasant and base swain.”
4. Illegitimate by birth; bastard. [Archaic]
Why bastard? wherefore base? --Shak.
5. Of little comparative value, as metal inferior to gold and
silver, the precious metals.
6. Alloyed with inferior metal; debased; as, base coin; base
7. Morally low. Hence: Low-minded; unworthy; without dignity
of sentiment; ignoble; mean; illiberal; menial; as, a base
fellow; base motives; base occupations. “A cruel act of a
base and a cowardish mind.”
--Robynson (More's Utopia).
8. Not classical or correct. “Base Latin.”
9. Deep or grave in sound; as, the base tone of a violin. [In
this sense, commonly written bass.
10. (Law) Not held by honorable service; as, a base estate,
one held by services not honorable; held by villenage.
Such a tenure is called base, or low, and the tenant, a
, formerly, an estate held at the will of the lord;
now, a qualified fee. See note under Fee
, n., 4.
. See under Metal
Syn: Dishonorable; worthless; ignoble; low-minded; infamous;
. These words, as expressing
moral qualities, are here arranged in the order of
their strength, the strongest being placed first. Base
marks a high degree of moral turpitude; vile and mean
denote, in different degrees, the lack of what is
valuable or worthy of esteem. What is base excites our
abhorrence; what is vile provokes our disgust or
indignation; what is mean awakens contempt. Base is
opposed to high-minded; vile, to noble; mean, to
liberal or generous. Ingratitude is base; sycophancy
is vile; undue compliances are mean.