bot·tom / ˈbätəm/ • n. (usu. the bottom) 1. the lowest point or part: the bottom of the page. ∎ the lower surface of something: place the fruit on the bottom of the dish. ∎ the part on which a thing rests; the underside: he sat on the bottom of an upturned bucket. ∎ the ground under a sea, river, or lake: the liner plunged to the bottom of the sea. ∎ the seat of a chair. ∎ the lowest position in a competition or ranking: he started at the bottom and now has his own business. ∎ the basis or origin: there's a mad scientist at the bottom of it all. ∎ (also bottoms) the lower half of a two-piece garment: pajama bottoms a skimpy bikini bottom. ∎ the lowest part of the hull of a ship, esp. the relatively flat portion on either side of the keel.2. inf. the buttocks: he climbs the side of the gorge, scratching his bottom unselfconsciously.3. Baseball the second half of an inning: the bottom of the ninth.4. Physics one of six flavors of quark.• adj. in the lowest position: the books on the bottom shelf. ∎ in the lowest or last position in a competition or ranking: households in the bottom income bracket.• v. [intr.] (of a performance or situation) reach the lowest point before stabilizing or improving: interest rates have bottomed out.PHRASES: at bottom basically; fundamentally: at bottom, science is exploration.bet your bottom dollar inf. stake everything: you can bet your bottom dollar it'll end in tears.the bottom falls (or drops) out collapse or failure occurs: the bottom fell out of the market for classic cars.from the bottom up1. completely and thoroughly: Paul understands me from the bottom up.2. by progressing from a lower or more fundamental starting point: we began to study history from the bottom up.get to the bottom of find an explanation for (a mystery): he hopes to get to the bottom of the scam.DERIVATIVES: bot·tomed adj. [in comb.] a glass-bottomed boat.bot·tom·most / -ˌmōst/ adj.
A. lowest surface or part OE.; valley, dell (surviving in place-names); foundation XV;
B. keel of ship, hull XVI. OE. botm = OS. bodom (Du. bodem), corr. with variation of suffix to ON. botn, and parallel to OE. bodan, corr. to OHG. bodam (G. boden ground, earth) :- Gmc. *bubm- *buþn :- IE. *bhudhm(e)n-, f. *bhudh-, whence also L. fundus, Skr. budhná-, Sense B is from Du.