bal·​lad ˈba-ləd How to pronounce ballad (audio)
: a narrative composition in rhythmic verse suitable for singing
a ballad about King Arthur
: an art song accompanying a traditional ballad
: a simple song : air
: a popular song
especially : a slow romantic or sentimental song
a ballad they danced to at their wedding reception
balladic adjective

Examples of ballad in a Sentence

a ballad about King Arthur a haunting ballad about lost love and loneliness
Recent Examples on the Web Even the lyrics come from ballads that were originally from Ireland, England, and Scotland, only modified with the passing of generations. WIRED, 17 Nov. 2023 In the last few years, the Richmond, Virginia native has gotten really into glacial heartache ballads and sparkly synth-pop. Alphonse Pierre, Pitchfork, 17 Nov. 2023 But, hey, poor judgment is as much a part of rock as guitar solos, bad hair, and power ballads. Jon Dolan, Rolling Stone, 16 Nov. 2023 An emotional, open letter to her two children, Milan and Sasha, the heartfelt ballad is up for song of the year at Thursday’s (Nov. 16) awards show in Seville, Spain. Griselda Flores, Billboard, 16 Nov. 2023 After uploading their acoustic ballads to TikTok, the trio drew in thousands of fans — many of them women who were starved for a more feminist perspective in regional Mexican music. Suzy Exposito, Los Angeles Times, 13 Nov. 2023 Last year, an intimate ballad by folk-rock hero Bonnie Raitt beat out a list that included more current acts like Gayle and DJ Khaled. Vulture, 7 Nov. 2023 The ballad, which Moroney co-wrote, is nominated for song of the year during the CMA Awards (Moroney is also up for new artist of the year). Jessica Nicholson, Billboard, 6 Nov. 2023 This week, the Beatles release their decades-in-the-making ‘final song,’ Megan Thee Stallion sheds her dark past, and Olivia Rodrigo delivers a shimmery ballad for The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes soundtrack. Rolling Stone, 3 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ballad.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English balad, balade, ballade, balett "poem or song in stanza form, poem or stanza in rhyme royal or a similar form," borrowed from Middle French balade, going back to Old French barade, balade "song to be danced to, short poem to be sung," borrowed from Old Occitan ballada, from ballar "to dance" (going back to Late Latin ballāre) + -ada -ade — more at ball entry 3

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of ballad was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near ballad

Cite this Entry

“Ballad.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


bal·​lad ˈbal-əd How to pronounce ballad (audio)
: a poem that tells a story of adventure, of romance, or of a hero, that is suitable for singing, and that usually has stanzas of four lines with a rhyme on the second and fourth lines
: a simple song
: a usually slow or sentimental popular song

More from Merriam-Webster on ballad

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