verb (used without object)

  1. to lie in or be exposed to a pleasant warmth: to bask in the sunshine.
  2. to enjoy a pleasant situation: He basked in royal favor.

verb (used with object)

  1. Obsolete. to expose to warmth or heat.

verb (intr usually foll by in)

  1. to lie in or be exposed to pleasant warmth, esp that of the sun
  2. to flourish or feel secure under some benevolent influence or favourable condition

1742, present participle adjective from bask (v.). Basking shark is recorded from 1769.


late 14c., basken “to wallow (in blood),” with loss of middle syllable, from Old Norse baðask “to bathe oneself,” reflexive of baða “bathe” (see bathe). Modern meaning “soak up a flood of warmth” is apparently due to Shakespeare’s use of the word in reference to sunshine in “As You Like It” (1600). Related: Basked; basking.

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