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low in pitch; of the lowest pitch or range:
a bass voice; a bass instrument.
of or relating to the lowest part in harmonic music.
the bass part.
a bass voice, singer, or instrument.
double bass.
any of numerous edible, spiny-finned, freshwater or marine fishes of the families Serranidae and Centrarchidae.
(originally) the European perch, Perca fluviatilis.
the basswood or linden.
Botany, bast.
Sam, 1851–78, U.S. outlaw: bank and train robber in the West.
Contemporary Examples

But bass, the quiet one of the group, might actually be the more interesting one to watch.
Lance Bass Launches a Comeback Ramin Setoodeh August 1, 2011

“Everybody told me I had this voice for the radio,” bass says backstage on a recent summer evening.
Lance Bass Launches a Comeback Ramin Setoodeh August 1, 2011

On bass, though, McCartney hits a D (the fifth note of the G scale).
Was The Beatles’ Music Really That Unique? Yeah, It Totally Was. Michael Tomasky February 1, 2014

There, he teamed up with a bass player and a guitar player, and they formed a three-piece band.
Miles Teller’s Movie Star Moment: From the Brink of Death to ‘Whiplash’ Marlow Stern October 13, 2014

The first, “When Will the bass Drop,” was the better of the two, again, because the humor behind it was so absurd.
Andy Samberg’s ‘SNL’ Finale Was Wonderfully Weird Kevin Fallon May 17, 2014

Historical Examples

From his boyhood bass wanted to be a sailor, but was apprenticed, sorely against his will, to a Boston apothecary.
The Naval Pioneers of Australia and Walter Jeffery Louis Becke

The harmonies which you mean are the mixed or tenor Lydian, and the full-toned or bass Lydian, and such like.
The Republic Plato

The spirits of trout and salmon and bass and walleye and sunfish and pike, all the fish of lakes and streams that fed his people.
Shaman Robert Shea

She doesn’t know a fugue from a bass viol, and she never hesitates to say so.
The Dominant Strain Anna Chapin Ray

The inference is that the bass bites furiously at about daybreak.
Frenzied Fiction Stephen Leacock

the lowest adult male voice usually having a range from E a 13th below middle C to D a tone above it
a singer with such a voice
the bass, the lowest part in a piece of harmony See also thorough bass
(informal) short for bass guitar, double bass

the low-frequency component of an electrical audio signal, esp in a record player or tape recorder
the knob controlling this on such an instrument

relating to or denoting the bass: bass pitch, the bass part
denoting the lowest and largest instrument in a family: a bass trombone
any of various sea perches, esp Morone labrax, a popular game fish with one large spiny dorsal fin separate from a second smaller one See also sea bass, stone bass
the European perch See perch2 (sense 1)
any of various predatory North American freshwater percoid fishes, such as Micropterus salmoides, (largemouth bass): family Centrarchidae (sunfishes, etc)
another name for bast (sense 1)
short for basswood
Also called fish bass. a bast fibre bag for holding an angler’s catch

late 14c., of things, “low, not high,” from Late Latin bassus “short, low” (see base (adj.)). Meaning “low in social scale or rank” is recorded from late 14c. Of voices and music notes, from mid-15c. (technically, ranging from the E flat below the bass stave to the F above it), infuenced by Italian basso. Meaning “lowest part of a harmonized musical composition” is from mid-15c. Meaning “bass-viol” is from 1702; that of “double-bass” is from 1927.

freshwater fish, early 15c. corruption of Old English bærs “a fish, perch,” from Proto-Germanic base *bars- “sharp” (cf. Middle Dutch baerse, Middle High German bars, German Barsch “perch,” German barsch “rough”), from PIE root *bhar- “point, bristle” (see bristle (n.)). The fish was so called for its dorsal fins. For loss of -r-, cf. ass (n.2).
bass [(bays)]

The lowest range of the male singing voice. (Compare baritone and tenor.)


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    Jacopo [yah-kaw-paw] /ˈyɑ kɔ pɔ/ (Show IPA), (Giacomo da Ponte) 1510–92, Italian painter. his sons, Francesco [frahn-ches-kaw] /frɑnˈtʃɛs kɔ/ (Show IPA), 1549–92, Giambattista da Ponte [jahm-baht-tees-tah dah pawn-te] /ˌdʒɑm bɑtˈtis tɑ dɑ ˈpɔn tɛ/ (Show IPA) 1533–?; Girolamo da Ponte [jee-raw-lah-maw] /dʒiˈrɔ lɑ mɔ/ (Show IPA) 1566–1621; Leandro [le-ahn-draw] /lɛˈɑn drɔ/ (Show IPA) 1557–1623, Italian […]

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