baseline

A baseline is an imaginary starting point or basis of comparison for something. To test how a class's performance improves over time, a researcher might begin with a baseline showing their current scores and grades.

You're most likely to encounter baseline in technical or work-related writing, since it's mainly used to talk about comparing data. In land surveying, the baseline runs east and west, and all measurements and surveys are based on that main line. There's also a baseline in sports, marking certain boundaries on the field or court, including the route a baseball player takes rounding the bases toward home plate.

Definitions of baseline
  1. noun
    an imaginary line or standard by which things are measured or compared
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    type of:
    criterion, measure, standard, touchstone
    a basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated
  2. noun
    the back line bounding each end of a tennis or handball court; when serving the server must not step over this line
    synonyms: service line
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    type of:
    line
    in games or sports; a mark indicating positions or bounds of the playing area
  3. noun
    the lines a baseball player must follow while running the bases
    see moresee less
    type of:
    line
    in games or sports; a mark indicating positions or bounds of the playing area
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