noun \ˈba-ləst\

: heavy material (such as rocks or water) that is put on a ship to make it steady or on a balloon to control its height in the air

Full Definition of BALLAST

:  a heavy substance placed in such a way as to improve stability and control (as of the draft of a ship or the buoyancy of a balloon or submarine)
:  something that gives stability (as in character or conduct)
:  gravel or broken stone laid in a railroad bed or used in making concrete
:  a device used to provide the starting voltage or to stabilize the current in a circuit (as of a fluorescent lamp)
in ballast
of a ship :  having only ballast for a load

Origin of BALLAST

probably from Low German, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Dan & Swedish barlast ballast; perhaps akin to Old English bær bare & to Old English hlæst load, hladan to load — more at lade
First Known Use: 1530

Other Civil Engineering Terms

asphalt, barrage, cantilever, infrastructure, sluice

Rhymes with BALLAST



Definition of BALLAST

transitive verb
:  to steady or equip with or as if with ballast
:  to fill in (as a railroad bed) with ballast

First Known Use of BALLAST



Next Word in the Dictionary: ballastage
Previous Word in the Dictionary: ballas
All Words Near: ballast

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up ballast? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More