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

Example Sentences

a ballad about King Arthur a haunting ballad about lost love and loneliness
Recent Examples on the Web Punishment was swiftly meted out for any public expression of Ukrainian patriotism — displaying a flag, singing a national ballad, daubing a bit of blue-and-yellow graffiti. Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2022 The Korean-Canadian alt-R&B savant provides a ballad full of orchestral swells and a playful kind of sexiness. Cydney Lee, Billboard, 14 Nov. 2022 That angst can turn an innocent backdrop into a cruel ballad of perseverance. Ken Makin, The Christian Science Monitor, 28 Oct. 2022 The songwriters opted for a soft piano ballad that features very minimal production aside from the Bajan singer’s earnest vocals. Time, 28 Oct. 2022 His baritone voice invited listeners to call in dedications and request a 1950s-era rock-n-roll love ballad or a rhythm and blues tune from Alicia Keys. Christopher Weber, USA TODAY, 11 Oct. 2022 That’s a timeless love ballad made most famous from a 1972 single by Roberta Flack, an alumna of and former teacher at Howard University, just a mile north up 7th Street NW from the arena. Dave Mckenna, Washington Post, 11 Oct. 2022 One of the creators, Groth, gives a brief pep talk, then someone plays a James Blake ballad. WIRED, 2 Sep. 2022 On the new Billboard Pop Shop Podcast, Katie & Keith are talking all about the emotional ballad, which serves as a tribute to late Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman. Katie Atkinson, Billboard, 1 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ballad.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English balade ballade, song, from Middle French, from Old Occitan balada dance, song sung while dancing, from balar to dance, from Late Latin ballare

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. 2022.

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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