Matting made of bast, that is the lime or linden tree. Dutch,
bast, bark; Swedish, basta, to bind; so called because used
for binding. “Ribbons from the linden tree give a wreath no charms to
me.” The shepherds of Carniola make a cloth of the outer bark. The
inner bark is made into Russian matting, and is serviceable to
gardeners for packing, tying up plants, protecting trees, etc. Other
materials are now used for the same purposes, and for hassocks,
etc., but the generic word bass designates both bast-bark and
all its imitations.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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