What does "basic" in the dialogue below mean?

A: "Some version of the Golden Rule can be found in every culture in the world. It's universal."
B: "I guess it really is that basic."

  • Welcome to ELL.SE. One of the expectations on this network of sites is that questions have attempted research on their own. What dictionaries did you consult on the meaning of basic? Why does its use here confuse you compared to uses you have seen elsewhere? I encourage you to read through the help center for additional guidance. – choster Aug 3 '14 at 2:22

Basic is something which is fundamental, or forms the simple basis or foundation of something - in this case the moral code of every civilization in the world.


In common parlance, basic is often used (somewhat figuratively) to mean simple, but in OP's context it's:

basic of, pertaining to, or forming a base; fundamental:
e.g. - a basic principle; the basic ingredient.

Note this usage, which clearly shows that not all basic concepts are simple...

I believe that most neurobiologists and most of contemporary science agree the quantum theory is basic and should be the foundation of neuroscience

To paraphrase Niels Bohr - anyone who thinks quantum theory is simple has not understood it.

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