What’s the difference between bass and base?

This week we are looking at two words which are sometimes confused: bass and base.

bass

bass saxophone, guitar, or other musical instrument is one that has a lower range of notes than other instruments of its kind.

The vocalist had been joined by the lead and bass guitars.

bass is also a male singer who can sing very low notes.

…the great Russian bass Chaliapin.

bass

bass is an edible fish that is found in rivers and the sea. There are several types of bass.

They unloaded their catch of cod and bass.

base

The base of something is its lowest edge or part.

…the switch on the lamp base.

I had back pain at the base of my spine.

There are many other meanings of base as a noun and a verb – look at the dictionary entry to find out more!


Find out more in our English Usage article.

This blogpost is based on Collins COBUILD English Usage, written for learners of English. For more examples of English usage points, please visit:  https://grammar.collinsdictionary.com/english-usage.

All opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of Collins, or its parent company, HarperCollins.

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