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

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 What is the right balance of maximizing business interest versus treating people fairly? Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Could extra unemployment until September harm the economic recovery?," 23 Apr. 2021 Statehood advocates argue that the partisan balance of the district shouldn't be a factor in the decision. Grace Segers, CBS News, "House approves bill that would admit Washington, D.C., as 51st state," 22 Apr. 2021 For many entrepreneurs and small business owners, work-life balance is subjective and something that has to be figured out based on what works for them. Vahe Tirakyan, Forbes, "Ten Things You Can’t Learn In Business School," 21 Apr. 2021 Currently the House balance is 218 Democrats and 212 Republicans with five vacancies. Annie Grayer, CNN, "Ohio GOP lawmaker to resign giving Republicans one fewer vote in the House," 19 Apr. 2021 So all of that — the calibration, the balance were definitely tricky. Dan Snierson, EW.com, "This Is Us writers break down Randall and Kevin's painful conversation about race," 14 Apr. 2021 Of this amount, the federal government owed N16 trillion ($42 billion) while the balance was loans by the state governments and the federal capital territory. Allwell Okpi, Quartz, "How much money does Nigeria owe China?," 11 Apr. 2021 But today, the balance between food and drink offerings is more weighted on the side of the grub. Kevin Davis, Chron, "Houston's most walkable strips for your spring adventures," 8 Apr. 2021 The 18 percent balance is for services, primarily education and communications (6.3 percent), transportation (5.1 percent), and recreation (3.7 percent), which, tuition aside, also present no material inflation risk. William Levin, National Review, "How Official Statistics Underestimate Inflation," 8 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The interior designer completely transforms a hero's space—breathing life, organization, and balance into what's typically a chaotic home. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Bobby Berk's Design Tips Include Painting Your Walls Black," 26 Apr. 2021 Rodzinski was sensitive to structure and balance yet completely dedicated to delivering exciting, often thrilling, performances. David Mermelstein, WSJ, "‘Artur Rodzinski—New York Philharmonic: The Complete Columbia Album Collection’ Review: Mercurial Maestro," 26 Apr. 2021 His raw power is a plus, but his over-aggressiveness sacrifices balance. Eddie Brown, San Diego Union-Tribune, "2021 NFL Draft: Top Interior Offensive Linemen," 23 Apr. 2021 Allow time for recharging, be aware of what and who fuels and drains your energy and balance those things. Expert Panel®, Forbes, "11 Signs Of Professional Burnout And Ways To Overcome It," 21 Apr. 2021 Lamb partnered up with Chime, a fintech company that helps customers balance their checkbooks and in the wide receiver’s case, check his accounts every day. Calvin Watkins, Dallas News, "Since he was drafted, Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb has been mindful about his NFL money," 14 Apr. 2021 Coconut, castor, and safflower oils are the stars of this nourishing show, while turmeric and rose clay work to balance and exfoliate even the most sensitive of skin types. Akili King, Vogue, "9 of the Best Bar Soaps to Bring Delight to Your Bathing," 12 Apr. 2021 Principles of Feng shui design were employed inside the home to balance space, light and nature and promote positive energy. oregonlive, "Willamette Valley mansion with a bowling alley, ballroom and Zen decor is for sale at $10 million," 11 Apr. 2021 Counterweights do an excellent job of helping to balance the weight of the telescope and give a clear image but can take a while to set up. Bob Beacham, chicagotribune.com, "The best telescope for the money," 9 Apr. 2021

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

Time Traveler for balance

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for balance

Last Updated

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Balance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/balance. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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

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

Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

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!