A programming language. Early versions were very primitive (line numbers and GOTO statements encourage spaghetti code) and very not powerful, with little possibility of low-level control over the machine. Implementations of the Basic language (such as Applesoft Basic) added more power but had a portability around zero. Basic probably reached a high point around the time of QBasic (with while statements and true functions with local variables and no more steenkin' line numbers) and started to go downhill once Microsoft released Visual Basic, creating a legion of script kiddies who think Visual Basic is a real programming language.

This is the genealogy of the programming language Basic:

Basic was first known as Basic in year 1964.
It became MS Basic 2.0 in year 1975.
Then it begat Perl in year 1987.
Then it begat Visual Basic in year 1991.

This genealogy is brought to you by the Programming Languages Genealogy Project. Please send comments to thbz.

A brand of cigarettes owned by Philip Morris. Usually cheaper than Marlboros but more expensive than generic brands.

Tastes what you would imagine burning tobacco to taste like. Not very good.

In a great many science fiction stories and movies, Basic is the primary language that is spoken in the Galaxy. In almost all (if not all) of these stories, this language ends up being what we on Earth understand as English.

The likelihood of this being reality is, of course, nil. However, the fact that so many of these books portray a language that is essentially English as the major language of the universe/galaxy is interesting.
baroque = B = batbelt

BASIC /bay'-sic/ n.

A programming language, originally designed for Dartmouth's experimental timesharing system in the early 1960s, which for many years was the leading cause of brain damage in proto-hackers. Edsger W. Dijkstra observed in "Selected Writings on Computing: A Personal Perspective" that "It is practically impossible to teach good programming style to students that have had prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration." This is another case (like Pascal) of the cascading lossage that happens when a language deliberately designed as an educational toy gets taken too seriously. A novice can write short BASIC programs (on the order of 10-20 lines) very easily; writing anything longer (a) is very painful, and (b) encourages bad habits that will make it harder to use more powerful languages well. This wouldn't be so bad if historical accidents hadn't made BASIC so common on low-end micros in the 1980s. As it is, it probably ruined tens of thousands of potential wizards.

[1995: Some languages called `BASIC' aren't quite this nasty any more, having acquired Pascal- and C-like procedures and control structures and shed their line numbers. --ESR]

BASIC stands for "Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code". Earlier versions of this entry claiming this was a later backronym were incorrect.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

Ba"sic (?), a.

1. Chem. (a)

Relating to a base; performing the office of a base in a salt.


Having the base in excess, or the amount of the base atomically greater than that of the acid, or exceeding in proportion that of the related neutral salt.


Apparently alkaline, as certain normal salts which exhibit alkaline reactions with test paper.

2. Min.

Said of crystalline rocks which contain a relatively low percentage of silica, as basalt.

Basic salt Chem., a salt formed from a base or hydroxide by the partial replacement of its hydrogen by a negative or acid element or radical.


© Webster 1913.

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