balance

noun
bal·​ance | \ ˈba-lən(t)s How to pronounce balance (audio) \

Definition of balance

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : physical equilibrium trouble keeping your balance on a sailboat lost his balance and fell a boxer kept off balance for a whole round
b : the ability to retain one's balance Gymnasts must have a good sense of balance.
2a : stability produced by even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis when the two sides of the scale are in balance tipped the statue off balance
b : equipoise between contrasting, opposing, or interacting elements … the balance we strike between security and freedom.— Earl Warren Both parties were interviewed to provide balance in the report. the right balance of diet and exercise
c accounting : equality between the totals of the two sides of an account
3a : an aesthetically pleasing integration of elements achieving balance in a work of art
b grammar : the juxtaposition in writing of syntactically parallel (see parallel entry 1 sense 3c) constructions containing similar or contrasting ideas (such as "to err is human; to forgive, divine")
4a accounting : an amount in excess especially on the credit side of an account has a comfortable balance in the bank You must maintain a minimum balance of $1000 in your account to avoid fees.
b : weight or force of one side in excess of another The balance of the evidence lay on the side of the defendant.
c : something left over : remainder answers will be given in the balance of this chapter— R. W. Murray
5 : mental and emotional steadiness I doubt that Thoreau would be thrown off balance by the fantastic sights and sounds of the 20th century.— E. B. White
6 : an instrument for weighing: such as
a : a beam that is supported freely in the center and has two pans of equal weight suspended from its ends
b : a device that uses the elasticity of a spiral spring for measuring weight or force
7 : a means of judging or deciding the balance of a free election
8 : a counterbalancing weight, force, or influence The comedic character serves as a balance to the serious subject matter of the play.
9 : an oscillating wheel operating with a hairspring to regulate the movement of a timepiece a watch's balance
in the balance or in balance
: with the fate or outcome about to be determined our future hangs in the balance as we await his decision
on balance
: with all things considered the meeting went well on balance

balance

verb
balanced; balancing

Definition of balance (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to poise or arrange in or as if in balance balancing a book on her head The legislature hasn't balanced the budget in years.
b : to bring into harmony or proportion I struggled to balance my career and family life. a balanced diet
c : to bring to a state or position of balance (see balance entry 1 sense 2) balanced the scales by adding a little more on one side
2a(1) accounting : to compute the difference between the debits and credits of (an account) balancing a company's books
(2) : to pay the amount due on : settle sent a check to balance her account
b(1) : to arrange so that one set of elements exactly equals another balance a mathematical equation
(2) chemistry : to complete (a chemical equation) so that the same number of atoms and electric charges of each kind appears on each side
3a : counterbalance, offset He served black coffee to help balance out the sweetness of the dessert. balance one consideration against another
b : to equal or equalize in weight, number, or proportion The good times balanced the bad times.
4 : to weigh in or as if in a balance (see balance entry 1 sense 6) balance the profit and loss to see what had been gained

intransitive verb

1 : to become balanced or established in balance Try balancing on one foot. The good times and bad times balanced out.
2 : to be an equal counterbalance often used with out His speed will likely balance out his competitor's greater strength.The discount and the shipping charge balance each other out.
3 : waver sense 1 balances and temporizes on matters that demand action

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from balance

Noun

balanced \ ˈba-​lən(t)st How to pronounce balanced (audio) \ adjective

Examples of balance in a Sentence

Noun

She had trouble keeping her balance as the boat rocked back and forth. The skater suddenly lost his balance and fell. Another skater bumped into him and knocked him off balance. Gymnasts need flexibility and balance. She has a good sense of balance. To provide balance in her news story, she interviewed members of both political parties. Temperature changes could upset the delicate balance of life in the forest. To lose weight you need the proper balance of diet and exercise. The food had a perfect balance of sweet and spicy flavors. It's important to keep your life in balance.

Verb

I find it difficult to balance on one foot. He had trouble balancing on his skis. He helped his daughter balance on her bicycle before she started peddling. The legislature is still trying to balance the state's budget. He balances his checkbook every month. Something's wrong: the books don't balance.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Family fun Quality family time often requires that balance between fun, education and experiences that keeps the kids interested while letting mom and dad also have a good time. Brian Sodoma, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "There’s something for everyone at the Wisconsin State Fair," 11 July 2019 Our public servants should do what’s needed to bring the park into environmental balance and try to keep it that way by addling goose eggs every year. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Defending culling of geese; Culling angers Canadian; If the shoe fits…; Give that team a raise (7/10/19)," 10 July 2019 As of June 12, 2019, there was a balance of approximately $240,000 in EBC’s checking account at BBVA. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al.com, "Alabama sheriff’s brother sues Attorney General over $240,000 seized in bingo feud," 10 July 2019 Benjamin runs with tremendous vision and balance, and his durability will be paramount for ASU this season with quarterback Manny Wilkins and receiver N’Keal Harry gone. The Si Staff, SI.com, "Top 100 College Football Players of 2019: Nos. 50–26," 10 July 2019 Charter school veteran Mary Stafford, with her company True North School Network, took over as Dugsi’s superintendent in 2017, inheriting a $1.4 million fund balance. Josh Verges, Twin Cities, "Costly academic turnaround takes St. Paul charter school from ‘buckets of cash’ to deep in debt," 10 July 2019 In addition to free room and a monthly stipend, resident advisers will get a $700 declining balance on the school’s meal plan. Carissa D. Lamkahouan, Houston Chronicle, "Move-in date nears for new UHCL residence hall," 9 July 2019 The Ten 5s have a sonic balance that, to my bass-loving ear, sounds treble-forward. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Fender Ten 5 review: all about that treble," 9 July 2019 However, the education department’s report also showed that West Hartford’s Braeburn Elementary School has moved into racial balance, after being categorized as impending imbalance last year. Emily Brindley, courant.com, "Report: West Hartford schools are moving closer to racial balance, but 5 aren’t there yet," 8 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Where Eve has to tend those embers, Daisy has fire in spades and has to learn how to balance it with other things, like taking care of herself. David Canfield, EW.com, "In conversation: Karen Dukess and Taylor Jenkins Reid on writing female-centric period pieces," 3 July 2019 Meantime, Italy has tried to balance its relationship with Russia and its allegiance to the United States. Washington Post, "Putin to meet with the pope and Kremlin-friendly politicians in Rome," 2 July 2019 People forget that a baseball scholarship is really hard to find, and players are trying to balance summer baseball with their schools, as well as weekend club tournaments and now events that seem to be popping up more and more. , Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Pressure cooker: Summertime chase for athletic scholarships, high school playing time," 26 June 2019 Half a dozen other candidates have released climate change plans, trying to balance sounding the alarm with expressing optimism about possible solutions. Patricia Mazzei, New York Times, "Democrats Will Debate in a City Under Siege by Climate Change," 24 June 2019 They were mocked for their style choices — most famously their whimsical fascinators at Kate Middleton and Prince William‘s 2011 royal wedding — and ridiculed for balancing their royal duties with their everyday careers. Simon Perry, PEOPLE.com, "Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice Find Being 'Criticized for Weight, Fashion and Work Lives Hard'," 19 June 2019 In many ways, Wild Rose is telling a classic story of a woman balancing her career ambitions with her familial obligations. Anne Cohen, refinery29.com, "Wild Rose Shows The Messy, Unvarnished Side Of What It Takes To Make It," 19 June 2019 The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting countries, led by Saudi Arabia, cut back their supplies by 1.2 million barrels a day for the first six months of 2019 to help balance the market. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "Rystad: Uncertain OPEC should keep current cuts flat," 18 June 2019 Dynamic pricing, therefore, helps balance the grid. Kuwar Singh, Quartz India, "Can smart meters re-energise India’s crumbling power distribution companies?," 18 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'balance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of balance

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 6

Verb

1588, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2a(1)

History and Etymology for balance

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *bilancia, from Late Latin bilanc-, bilanx having two scalepans, from Latin bi- + lanc-, lanx plate

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about balance

Statistics for balance

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for balance

The first known use of balance was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for balance

balance

noun

English Language Learners Definition of balance

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the state of having your weight spread equally so that you do not fall
: the ability to move or to remain in a position without losing control or falling
: a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance

balance

verb

English Language Learners Definition of balance (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make (something, such as a plate or your body) steady by keeping weight equal on all sides
: to adjust (an account or budget) so that the amount of money available is more than or equal to the amount of money that has been spent
: to check and make adjustments to financial records so that they are accurate

balance

noun
bal·​ance | \ ˈba-ləns How to pronounce balance (audio) \

Kids Definition of balance

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a steady position or condition The gymnast kept her balance.
2 : something left over : remainder He spent the balance of his allowance.
3 : an instrument for weighing
4 : a state in which things occur in equal or proper amounts a balance of work and fun
5 : the amount of money in a bank account
6 : an amount of money still owed

balance

verb
balanced; balancing

Kids Definition of balance (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to make or keep steady : keep from falling … their slippery … forefeet did not allow them to balance there.— Dick King-Smith, Pigs Might Fly
2 : to make the two sides of (an account) add up to the same total
3 : to be or make equal in weight, number, or amount You must balance your schoolwork and outside activities.

balance

noun
bal·​ance | \ ˈbal-ən(t)s How to pronounce balance (audio) \

Medical Definition of balance

1 : an instrument for weighing
2 : mental and emotional steadiness
3a : the relation in physiology between the intake of a particular substance and its excretion used with positive when the intake of a substance is greater than the body's excretion of it and with negative when the intake of a substance is less than the body's excretion of it — see nitrogen balance, water balance
b : the maintenance (as in laboratory cultures) of a population at about the same condition and level

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on balance

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

WORD OF THE DAY

providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!