What's basic is what's essential, at the root or base of things. If you've got a basic understanding of differential equations, you can handle simple problems but might get tripped up by more difficult ones.

You can also speak of the basics. If your kitchen is outfitted with just the basics, you've got some bowls and pots and pans, but you probably don't have an apple corer or a candy thermometer. If you're hitchhiking across the Gobi Desert, you'll want to have the basics of conversational Mongolian down. You've probably heard basic in chemistry class, too: it's the opposite of acidic. A basic solution has a pH greater than 7 and turns litmus paper blue.

Definitions of basic
  1. adjective
    reduced to the simplest and most significant form possible without loss of generality
    “a basic story line”
    synonyms: canonic, canonical
    established or well-known or widely recognized as a model of authority or excellence
  2. adjective
    pertaining to or constituting a base or basis
    “a basic fact”
    “the basic ingredients”
    basic changes in public opinion occur because of changes in priorities”
    basal, base
    serving as or forming a base
    elemental, elementary, primary
    of or being the essential or basic part
    fundamental, rudimentary, underlying
    being or involving basic facts or principles
    arising from or going to the root or source
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    incident, incidental
    (sometimes followed by `to') minor or casual or subordinate in significance or nature or occurring as a chance concomitant or consequence
    capable of being left out
    parenthetic, parenthetical
    qualifying or explaining; placed or as if placed in parentheses
    related to the key issue but not of central importance
    depending on or incidental to what is original or primary
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  3. adjective
    serving as a base or starting point
    “a basic course in Russian”
    basic training for raw recruits”
    “a set of basic tools”
    synonyms: introductory
    preceding all others in time or space or degree
  4. noun
    (usually plural) a necessary commodity for which demand is constant
    synonyms: staple
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    type of:
    commodity, good, trade good
    articles of commerce
  5. adjective
    of or denoting or of the nature of or containing a base
    alkalic, alkaline
    relating to or containing an alkali; having a pH greater than 7
Word Family

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