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 outHis 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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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 Various wheezes have been proposed to get around this, including off-balance-sheet vehicles linked to public bodies like universities or housing associations that can tap markets without violating the debt brake. The Economist, "Germany’s fiscal debate is livelier than ever, as the economy flatlines," 14 Nov. 2019 And whether or not Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa are among your celebrations, perhaps reframing the holiday as a time to reflect and give back could keep things in balance. Maria Shine Stewart, cleveland, "Balance is key to holiday happiness: Sun Messages," 11 Nov. 2019 But there is a reason why many societies represent Lady Justice as wearing a blindfold: the judiciary must put facts and expertise in the balance and be able to abstract away from base prejudices. Monika Schmid, Quartz at Work, "Accent prejudice is costing people the jobs they deserve," 7 Nov. 2019 McMillan says the practice has been key to keeping her entire body in balance, something that’s difficult for most adventure athletes, where years of repetitive motions lead to muscular imbalances. Graham Averill, Outside Online, "How Freeskier Jess McMillan Stays in Shape All Year," 7 Nov. 2019 The Blues found themselves 4-1 down after 55 minutes thanks to two own goals and strikes by Quincy Promes and Donny van de Beek, leaving their Champions League progression hanging in the balance. SI.com, "Chelsea Enter Rarified Air With Astonishing Champions League Comeback Against Ajax," 6 Nov. 2019 There will be a recount in Glastonbury between Democratic town councilman Jacob McChesney, who won the ninth spot on the council by only seven votes, and Republican George Norman — and until then, the power of the town council hangs in the balance. Peter Marteka, courant.com, "The political power of Glastonbury’s town council will come down to a recount with seven votes the difference in one race," 6 Nov. 2019 Our bodies are typically pretty great at keeping our blood sugar in perfect balance, Deena Adimoolam, M.D., assistant professor of endocrinology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells SELF. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "10 Signs and Symptoms of High Blood Sugar to Be Aware Of," 6 Nov. 2019 As long as the dopamine system remains in balance in the striatum, so too will our ability to control those pleasures—a single slice of cake; wine with dinner but no more after that. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "Food Addictions Are Real Addictions—And More And More People Are Getting Hooked," 6 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb West Palm Beach’s goal is to have a net zero greenhouse gas emission by 2050, meaning the carbon emitted into the atmosphere is balanced by the carbon removed. Kimberly Miller, sun-sentinel.com, "Oaks instead of palm trees? Florida’s iconic palms don’t cut it with climate change," 14 Nov. 2019 Your mother’s balanced by your daughter: one faces death, one will give birth. Rachel Hadas, The New Yorker, "Love and Dread," 11 Nov. 2019 The wine foam is dark and rich, the margarita is just sour enough to be balanced by the sweetness of the tapche. Trevor Fraser, orlandosentinel.com, "Layered Margarita Tres Capas blends MX Taco, Southern Craft," 31 Oct. 2019 But all of these horrible downsides are balanced out by one huge advantage: Compared to video, the GIF is ridiculously easy to use. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "The GIF Is Dead. Long Live the GIF.," 30 Oct. 2019 The bittersweet amaro Cynar 70 and sweet creme de cacao work well with blackstrap rum and are balanced by dry sherry. M. Carrie Allan, The Denver Post, "How to concoct frighteningly good Halloween cocktails," 23 Oct. 2019 These geometric accents are balanced by soft colors and plush upholstery. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Miranda Kerr's Debut Furniture Line Incorporates Sacred Geometry," 21 Oct. 2019 This is also balanced by the fact that most retail pharmacies are open for longer hours than clinics, do not require appointments, and may be located in areas with limited women’s health providers. Sarah Lynch, The Conversation, "How birth control pill prescriptions by a pharmacist could broaden access and keep costs down," 7 Oct. 2019 Regular playoff teams are not knocked off balanced by early-season struggles. Terry Pluto, cleveland, "Cleveland Browns: ‘It’s only one game?’ Nope, it was more than that," 2 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for balance

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for balance

Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Balance.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/balancing. Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for balance

balance

noun
How to pronounce balance (audio)

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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not agreeing with established beliefs

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