Basement is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) in two senses relating to construction: structurally as "The lowest or fundamental portion of a structure" and spatially "The lowest storey (not a cellar) of a building, esp. when sunk below the general ground level.". The Century Dictionary (CD) agrees with both of these senses, the lowest supporting member or a room partially or completely below ground but distinguished from a cellar. Cellar comes from Latin cellarium, a pantry or receptacle for food but a general sense of a storeroom is obsolete and in OED means "an underground room or vault." In the CD cellar means an underground or partially underground room for storage but not for habitation. However, common usage these terms are often used as synonyms.


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