Baseless

When I saw that “base” was the prompt word today, the first connotation that crossed my mind was how my mother used to use it when describing something evil, tawdry, low-down.  Someone had a base intent, performed a base action or a photograph or story was base and tactless. As I remember it, she was not the only one to use the word in this manner, so I was surprised to find no mention of it in online dictionaries.  There, a base was merely the lower part of something, the basis or foundation. And so the piece I wanted to write I found to be baseless in fact.  Ironic, on this morning when I have an appointment and need to be elsewhere soon.

I’ve since been assured by Kate that she, too, knows that connotation of the word, but it brought to mind to me that everyone must have one phrase or saying or word used in their family that they later found was not known to the world in general.  I’d love to hear any stories about your peculiar family words that you’d care to tell–either by pingback to your blog or just as comments below:

The prompt today was “base.”

This entry was posted in Irony and tagged , , on by .

About lifelessons

My blog, which started out to be about overcoming grief, quickly grew into a blog about celebrating life. I post daily: poems, photographs, essays or stories. I've lived in countries all around the globe but have finally come to rest in Mexico, where I've lived since 2001. My books may be found on Amazon in Kindle and print format, my art in local Ajijic galleries. Hope to see you at my blog.

27 thoughts on “Baseless

  1. katemccseattle

    On-line dictionaries aren’t all they are cracked up to be. While your first thought wasn’t mine on “base” it certainly came to mind as I contemplated the prompt. Perhaps you should send them some feedback.

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Glad to know it wasn’t one of those special family words that in the end turn out not to be known by anyone but you! That would be a great prompt, wouldn’t it?

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Thanks for this. I thought it was only me. They’ve been putting all of my pingbacks to the DP site into spam. Then when I notice and contact them it is put so far down in the queque (like in the morning, when I posted) that no one is going to see it–at least to my mind. They say it is if you try to pingback again if the first doesn’t work, but that is the normal thing to do and what I’ve been doing for years. Ah well. Small problems compared to the world problems, I guess. Thanks for responding.

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  2. gc

    Hello Judy. I am having a major issue trying to post my “base” article to the Word Press site. I notice that your connection used “baseless” as the site reference. What did I do wrong? Thank you. 🙂

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Sorry, gc, as I’ve been gone all day and just saw your post. Looks like you have solved your problem. Do you find when you try to do the pingback that it takes forever to get the Daily Post URL to show up in the pingback bar? That may have something to do with my problems as I get impatient and try to post it again and then two URLs show up in the bar. Then for some reason they see this as a spammer threat and throw my post into Spam. Could this be what is happening to you?
      One techie said if I try to establish pingbacks twice, it throws me into Spam, but this has not been so for the four years I’ve been blogging. They warned me not to try again, but I did anyway and it worked. Just keep letting the “Happiness Engineers” know when things don’t work. Do you have their link?

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    2. lifelessons Post author

      Ah.. I just used Baseless because that was the title of my ariticle, but I had the correct URL at least the third time, when it finally posted. At first, I’d posted it to the DP site but not the prompt site. Before this however, I was doing it right and it still didn’t work. It’s good to know it just wasn’t me, though, as perhaps the problem will be corrected more quickly. (Not that I wish to dish out my problems on you!!!)

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  3. slmret

    I was always aware of the adjective form of “base,” although it was not a word widely used in my family. More common, ‘baseless,’ meaning without substance.

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  4. gc

    Hello again. My posting issue was resolved. Apparently my article was flagged as “spam” and put into some type of editorial limbo. That was the offical story I got. However, the facts did not agree with that answer. The number of blog posts to the site were way down today…a mere 20 or so when there are usually 100 or more. With editorial assistance the blog worked. Just thought you should know. Enjoy the day.

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  5. Marilyn Armstrong

    Base always meant and I’m pretty sure still DOES mean “low, lacking morals.” It means many other things too, of course and while the meaning of words change with time, I can’t imagine this part has completely vanished from English.

    Okay, found the definitions you wanted:

    BASE, adjective: Immoral. (baser, basest) (formal) Not having moral principles or rules. “He acted from base motives.” See related entries: Immoral.
    Origin: adjective, late Middle English: from Old French bas, from medieval Latin bassus ‘short’ (found in classical Latin as a type of nickname).

    BASE, adjective:
    (baser, basest) (formal) not having moral principles or rules
    He acted from base motives.

    I found it when I included “adjective” in the search. Otherwise, I got all the same stuff you did.

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  6. Marilyn Armstrong

    Also, I used it to mean “lowest” as in base creatures or beasts. The most primitive. Another usage that has apparently fallen by the wayside.

    Etymology:
    From Old French bas, from Late Latin bassus ‎(“low”).
    Adjective:
    base ‎(comparative baser or more base, superlative basest or most base)
    (obsolete) Low in height; short. Low in place or position.
    (obsolete) Of low value or degree.
    (archaic) Of low social standing or rank; vulgar, common.
    Morally reprehensible, immoral; cowardly.
    (now rare) Inferior; unworthy, of poor quality.
    Designating those metals which are not classed as precious or noble.
    Alloyed with inferior metal; debased.
    base coin; base bullion
    (obsolete) Of illegitimate birth; bastard. (My note: Frequently used in Elizabethan poetry)
    Not classical or correct; base Latin
    Obsolete form of bass — the base tone of a violin
    (law) Not held as honourable service. A “base estate” is one held by services not honourable, or held by villenage. Such a tenure is called base, or low, and the tenant is a base tenant.
    Usage: Said of fellows, motives, occupations, etc.
    Synonyms: Bad, vile, malicious, destructive, reprehensible, knavish, evil.

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      What was your source here, Marilyn? I didn’t have time to research beyond the first 5 or 6 dictionaries I found on Google. Surprises me that the meaning I chose has become archaic in my lifetime, though. just how old am I?

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      1. Marilyn Armstrong

        I did a basic google search, but added “adjective” to the search terms. Different stuff came up. It should all come up with just “base” but for some reason, not in this case and I have no idea why. Usually when I go hunting for a definition, I get all the forms.

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  8. Christine Goodnough

    I’m afraid, Judy, that half of what we once knew as standard has become archaic in the past thirty years. 😉 Dialing a phone, laundry day, spring cleaning, to name a few.

    As for words, my mom used to call me “Dingle hoofer” when she wanted a silly moniker. Can you guess where that came from? The British aristocracy could get away with naming their scion Dingle Foote, (Later Sir Dingle Foote.) He’d have been laughed to scorn on the prairies. And Bob’s mom used to tell him, “Your room looks like Fibber Magee’s closet.” What teen today would have a clue?

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      1. Christine Goodnough

        That radio show aired before my time, but I gather every time they had to open the closet door you’d hear this loud clatter & thumping as all the stuffed-in hastily goods came tumbling out. Hopefully yours was neatly organized.

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      2. lifelessons Post author

        There is a reason why it was called the Fibber McGee and Molly Closet. It was built into the space under the stairs and so narrowed down to nothing in the back.. very dark and deep and where I always thought I’d hide if robbers came to get me in the night time. Not well-organized. Sorry.

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      3. lifelessons Post author

        It must have aired just before I was born, too, as my folks knew about it but I never heard the program that I remember. I have since, and just before he’d open it, his wife Molly would say, “McGee, don’t open that closet!!!” and then the sound of things crashing down. And it was always funny…no matter how many times it happened. One per show, I’d guess. We called it a Fibber McGee and Molly closet, giving equal time.

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