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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The company takes measures to provide work-life balance, especially since community management is inherently stressful. Leigh Farr, azcentral, "Small Company Rankings," 13 June 2019 Alcohol influences balance, coordination, and judgment, and its effects are heightened by sun exposure and heat. Byron Mccauley, Cincinnati.com, "The fatal drowning rate for black kids is stark. History is part of that.," 13 June 2019 The state now will contribute three-quarters of that local match — about $1.88 of that $2.50, in other words — with local governments coming up with the balance. Mike Morris, Houston Chronicle, "Gov. Abbott signs $1.6 billion in state aid for Harvey, flood projects into law," 13 June 2019 Children will learn balance, body movement, and hand-eye coordination and will develop sport-specific skills through a series of games and drills. courant.com, "Community News For The Enfield Edition," 12 June 2019 Our objective is to preserve the characteristics of Bordeaux — freshness, elegance, balance, digestibility and aromatic complexity. Dave Mcintyre, Washington Post, "Climate change is reshaping wine as we know it," 7 June 2019 Currently, a rider must pay $4.95 for the card and an additional $5 for a minimum initial balance, an amount that could be an obstacle to a poor rider. Christian Hetrick, https://www.inquirer.com, "These government offices in Philly won’t take cash, disregarding the city’s cashless ban," 6 June 2019 The ancient Chinese tradition is rooted in incorporating a sense of balance, organization, and healthy practices into your home, which can ultimately help to improve your daily lifestyle. Monique Valeris, ELLE Decor, "12 Feng Shui Tips to Create the Bedroom of Your Dreams," 17 May 2019 And in recent years, Jagger has expanded his workouts, honing his posture, balance, and flexibility by doing yoga and pilates, as well as taking ballet lessons. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "At 75, Mick Jagger Shares His Incredible Post-Heart Surgery Dance Moves," 15 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The governing parties face dilemmas balancing climate protection with their traditional economic goals. The Economist, "German politicians are scrambling to respond to the Green Party’s surge," 14 June 2019 The idea of balancing family and career was something that was so scary to me, but the whole family is rallying around right now. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "Southern Charm New Orleans' Reagan Charleston Welcomes Daughter Reece Ellis — See Her First Pic," 13 June 2019 Most of those employees are seasonal, balancing work on their own small farms with work on Alfaro's larger finca. Kevin Sieff, Anchorage Daily News, "Falling coffee prices drive Guatemalan migration to the United States," 12 June 2019 Keep that in mind when using them in cooking or service; some balancing acidity or sweetness (dried fruit, perhaps) works well. Bill St. John, The Denver Post, "Marinating olives, Sicilian style and simply," 12 June 2019 Daily Total: $0 Weekly Total: $275.41 Reflection: The best part of my week was seeing friends and balancing my time between socializing, working out, and relaxing on my own. refinery29.com, "I Live In Washington, D.C., Make $95,000 A Year & Spent $275.41 On My Wellness Routine This Week," 10 June 2019 How are 2020 candidates balancing their campaign travel and their day jobs? NBC News, "For Iowa Democrats, winning trumps ideology," 10 June 2019 Jason Pipitone of Plainville performs his juggling and balancing show on the main stage at Youthtopia in Jewett City. Janice Steinhagen, courant.com, "Families Flock To Annual Youthtopia Festival," 10 June 2019 The stuttering bassline, Woods' breathless vocals and the art showing the star balancing a snake on her head all mix together to make for one of her most enticing singles yet. Joe Lynch, Billboard, "Pride Picks: Kick Off Pride Month With These New LGBTQ Songs," 7 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.

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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

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Learn More about balance

Statistics for balance

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for balance

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

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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

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Comments on balance

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to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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