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balance

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noun bal·ance \ˈba-lən(t)s\

Definition of balance

  1. 1 :  an instrument for weighing: such asa :  a beam that is supported freely in the center and has two pans of equal weight suspended from its endsb :  a device that uses the elasticity of a spiral spring for measuring weight or force

  2. 2 :  a means of judging or deciding <the balance of a free election>

  3. 3 :  a counterbalancing weight, force, or influence <The comedic character serves as a balance to the serious subject matter of the play.>

  4. 4 :  an oscillating wheel operating with a hairspring to regulate the movement of a timepiece <a watch's balance>

  5. 5a :  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

  6. 6a :  an aesthetically pleasing integration of elements <achieving balance in a work of art>b grammar :  the juxtaposition in writing of syntactically parallel (see 1parallel 3c) constructions containing similar or contrasting ideas (as “to err is human; to forgive, divine”)

  7. 7a :  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.>

  8. 8a :  weight or force of one side in excess of another <The balance of the evidence lay on the side of the defendant.>b :  something left over :  remainder <answers will be given in the balance of this chapter — R. W. Murray>c 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.>

  9. 9 :  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>

balanced

play \-lən(t)st\ adjective

in the balance

or

in balance

  1. :  with the fate or outcome about to be determined <our future hangs in the balance as we await his decision>

on balance

  1. :  with all things considered <the meeting went well on balance>

Examples of balance in a sentence

  1. She had trouble keeping her balance as the boat rocked back and forth.

  2. The skater suddenly lost his balance and fell.

  3. Another skater bumped into him and knocked him off balance.

  4. Gymnasts need flexibility and balance.

  5. She has a good sense of balance.

  6. To provide balance in her news story, she interviewed members of both political parties.

  7. Temperature changes could upset the delicate balance of life in the forest.

  8. To lose weight you need the proper balance of diet and exercise.

  9. The food had a perfect balance of sweet and spicy flavors.

  10. It's important to keep your life in balance.

Origin and Etymology of balance

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


First Known Use: 13th century


2

balance

verb bal·ance

Definition of balance

balanced

;

balancing

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a (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

  3. 2a :  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. 3 :  to weigh in or as if in a balance (see 1balance 1) <balance the profit and loss to see what had been gained>

  5. 4a :  to bring to a state or position of balance (see 1balance 5) <balanced the scales by adding a little more on one side>b :  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.>c :  to bring into harmony or proportion <I struggled to balance my career and family life.> <a balanced diet>

  6. intransitive verb
  7. 1 :  to become balanced or established in balance <Try balancing on one foot.> <The good times and bad times balanced out.>

  8. 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.>

  9. 3 :  waver 1 <balances and temporizes on matters that demand action>

Examples of balance in a sentence

  1. I find it difficult to balance on one foot.

  2. He had trouble balancing on his skis.

  3. He helped his daughter balance on her bicycle before she started peddling.

  4. The legislature is still trying to balance the state's budget.

  5. He balances his checkbook every month.

  6. Something's wrong: the books don't balance.

Origin and Etymology of balance

see 1balance


First Known Use: 1588



BALANCE Defined for English Language Learners

1

balance

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noun bal·ance \ˈba-lən(t)s\

Definition of balance for English Language Learners

  • : 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


2

balance

verb bal·ance

Definition of balance for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

1

balance

play
noun bal·ance \ˈba-ləns\

Definition of balance for Students

  1. 1 :  a steady position or condition <The gymnast kept her balance.>

  2. 2 :  something left over :  remainder <He spent the balance of his allowance.>

  3. 3 :  an instrument for weighing

  4. 4 :  a state in which things occur in equal or proper amounts <a balance of work and fun>

  5. 5 :  the amount of money in a bank account

  6. 6 :  an amount of money still owed

History for balance

The first meaning of the word balance was “an instrument used to weigh things.” Some weighing instruments have two small pans on either side, into which equal amounts must be placed to keep the beam that holds the pans from tipping. The English word balance came from a Latin word that meant literally “having two pans.” This Latin word, bilanx, is a compound of bi-, “two,” and lanx, “dish, pan of a pair of scales.”


2

balance

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verb bal·ance

Definition of balance for Students

balanced

balancing

  1. 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. 2 :  to make the two sides of (an account) add up to the same total

  3. 3 :  to be or make equal in weight, number, or amount <You must balance your schoolwork and outside activities.>


Medical Dictionary

balance

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noun bal·ance \ˈbal-ən(t)s\

Medical Definition of balance

  1. 1:  an instrument for weighing

  2. 2:  mental and emotional steadiness

  3. 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 balanceb:  the maintenance (as in laboratory cultures) of a population at about the same condition and level



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