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

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 For easy maneuvering, look for helper handles (an extra handle on the opposite side of the main one), which are beneficial for lifting to create extra balance. Nicole Papantoniou, Good Housekeeping, 20 May 2022 Working out remains a crucial part of maintaining emotional balance. David Mcglynn, Men's Health, 20 May 2022 Sahaj Kaur Kohli, creator of Brown Girl Therapy and an MA.Ed, will be answering questions about identity, relationships, mental health, work-life balance, family dynamics and more. Sahaj Kaur Kohli, Washington Post, 19 May 2022 The award is meant as a balance to the Johnny Mercer Award, which is a career capper for a legendary writer. Paul Grein, Billboard, 19 May 2022 Policymakers straddle that balance in both parties, particularly with regard to fuel tax holidays, which are broadly popular among the public, Shufeldt said. Kayla Dwyer, The Indianapolis Star, 19 May 2022 Job candidates always want to know if the job offers work-life balance and reasonable working hours. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 19 May 2022 However, some sections of town have been drawing more families in recent years, so the enrollment balance between the system’s five schools has been shifting. Don Stacom, Hartford Courant, 19 May 2022 Pablo, aware of Lidia’s fragile emotional balance, worries about a possible relapse after her suicide attempt. Emiliano De Pablos, Variety, 19 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Many of these event professionals are trying to balance capturing—and keeping—the attention of digital natives in Gen Z, along with their own peers and those who are older, as well as some who are digitally savvy and some who are decidedly not. Mayank Agarwal, Forbes, 20 May 2022 Turkey has built close relations with both Russia and Ukraine and has been trying to balance its ties with both. Suzan Fraser, ajc, 17 May 2022 Srikant Tiwari sets off on another roller coaster ride, trying to balance life as a common man and a top-secret agent battling terrorists, rebels and moral dilemmas. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 28 Apr. 2022 Restaurants and food companies are trying to balance raising prices to offset more expensive ingredients and wages against consumers’ ability and willingness to pay higher prices. Heather Haddon, WSJ, 28 Apr. 2022 However, in practice, China may be trying to balance continued economic links with Russia while preserving its relationship with the West. Nicholas Gordon, Fortune, 22 Apr. 2022 That gives confidence to smaller countries in Asia and elsewhere that are also trying to balance their relations with world powers, Stobdan said. NBC News, 2 Apr. 2022 Johnson said he was thrust into an election and has been trying to balance governing the city with campaigning for office. D. Kwas, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1 Apr. 2022 More than one month into the conflict, Israel’s Prime Minister has yet to openly condemn Russia, instead trying to balance a fine line between Israel’s Western allies, including the United States, and its strategic relationship with the Kremlin. Ellie Kaufman, CNN, 28 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best smart scales.

Learn More About balance

Time Traveler for balance

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near balance

balan-

balance

balance a/the budget

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for balance

Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Balance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/balance. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for balance

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

More from Merriam-Webster on balance

Nglish: Translation of balance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of balance for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about balance

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Color

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!