balloon

1 of 3

noun

bal·​loon bə-ˈlün How to pronounce balloon (audio)
plural balloons
1
: a nonporous bag of light material that can be inflated especially with air or gas: such as
a
: a bag that is filled with heated air or a gas lighter than air so as to rise and float in the atmosphere and that usually carries a suspended load (such as a gondola with passengers)
b
: an inflatable bag (as of rubber or plastic) usually used as a toy or for decoration
c
medical : a small bag that can be inflated (as in a bodily cavity) with air or gas
More than 700,000 Americans undergo procedures in which clogged arteries are cleared out with a balloon and then propped open with a tiny metal scaffold called a stent.Ron Winslow
2
: the outline enclosing words spoken or thought by a figure especially in a cartoon

balloon

2 of 3

adjective

1
: relating to, resembling, or suggesting a balloon
a balloon sleeve
2
US : having or being a final installment that is much larger than preceding ones in a term or installment note
a balloon note
a balloon mortgage
Got a commercial mortgage coming due? If the loan requires a balloon payment (as many such mortgages do), you may have a hard time refinancing …INC

balloon

3 of 3

verb

ballooned; ballooning; balloons

intransitive verb

1
: to swell or puff out : expand
ballooned to 200 pounds
2
: to ascend or travel in or as if in a balloon
3
: to increase rapidly
ballooning prices
Phrases
go over like a lead balloon (US) or British go down like a lead balloon
informal
: to fail completely to impress or amuse other people
Not surprisingly, his overt religiosity has proved a mixed blessing. While probably a winner on the stump, it has gone over like a lead balloon with journalists, liberals, and even many Jewish organizations.Michelle Cottle
But the last time I saw it on stage, in Ned Sherrin's 1996 revival, the dialogue bored me rigid and the whole thing … went down like a lead balloon.David Nice

Example Sentences

Noun I blew up a balloon but then it burst. brightly colored balloons and other party decorations Verb Their credit card debt ballooned to more than $5,000. the ballooning costs of education
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The single balloon sleeve with elastic cuff almost acts as a fun accessory as your bare arm shows off a little skin. Jill Schildhouse, Travel + Leisure, 30 Jan. 2023 Sure, a series of scandals, weakening earnings, and a general market downturn have sucked the air out of the tech valuation balloon, leaving venture capitalists wary. Sylvain Duranton, Forbes, 24 Jan. 2023 But does the show still manage to poke a necessary hole in the growing pressure balloon of pandemic parenting? Helena Andrews-dyer, Washington Post, 20 Jan. 2023 After spectacles like that, The Appointment quickly sucks the air right out of the satirical balloon and brings you back to that clinic. Vulture, 19 Jan. 2023 The Pacers opened the second quarter with an 12-2 run to go up 40-38, but that was about the point the air left the balloon for Indiana's offense. Dustin Dopirak, The Indianapolis Star, 15 Jan. 2023 The photo was colorless with the exception of the balloon and a red coat the individual was wearing. Charmaine Patterson, Peoplemag, 15 Dec. 2022 An alert data hoarder, a shrewd analyst, and a propulsive stylist, Davis views the hot-air balloon called the art world in a broad political context. Roberta Smith, New York Times, 15 Dec. 2022 What takes some of the air out of the anticipatory Correa balloon is the new schedule. Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times, 14 Dec. 2022
Adjective
Such releases have been banned in a handful of states and cities, according to the anti-balloon release organization called Balloons Blow. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, 20 Apr. 2022
Verb
Demand for power will continue to balloon in Texas with continued population and business growth in the state, as well as other factors like the increase of energy used by crypto-mining operations. Dallas News, 2 Dec. 2022 Sudden onslaughts of intense emotion can in some cases rapidly weaken the heart’s muscle cells, allowing the left ventricle to balloon outwards. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 5 Mar. 2019 After seventy-five years, your $12.9 million will balloon to approximately $502 million, according to calculations by the Northern Trust Institute, a wealth-management firm based in Chicago. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, 16 Jan. 2023 That total will likely balloon to $38.5 million by the end of Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Lindsey Bahr, USA TODAY, 15 Jan. 2023 The Mega Millions jackpot has continued to balloon over the past two-and-a-half months, with 22 drawings since the jackpot was last won on Oct. 14. Meredith Deliso, ABC News, 3 Jan. 2023 When owners dump their unwanted pets into wild ponds, the fish can balloon in size and disrupt the underwater habitat. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Nov. 2022 Even as Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe has continued to balloon across theaters and streaming, Sony Pictures has spent the last few years carving out its own corner of the superhero landscape. Devan Coggan, EW.com, 17 Nov. 2022 With the new debt taken on in the deal, that will now balloon to about $1 billion a year. Lauren Hirsch, New York Times, 30 Oct. 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

French ballon large football, balloon, from Italian dialect ballone large football, augmentative of balla ball, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German balla ball — more at ball

First Known Use

Noun

1783, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1784, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1784, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of balloon was in 1783

Dictionary Entries Near balloon

Cite this Entry

“Balloon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/balloon. Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

balloon

1 of 2 noun
bal·​loon bə-ˈlün How to pronounce balloon (audio)
1
: a bag of tough light material filled with heated gas or a gas lighter than air so as to rise and float in the atmosphere and that usually carries a suspended load (as a gondola with passengers)
2
: a toy or decoration consisting of an inflatable bag (as of rubber)
3
: an outline containing words spoken or thought by a character (as in a cartoon)

balloon

2 of 2 verb
1
: to go up or travel in a balloon
2
: to swell or puff out
3
: to increase rapidly
ballooning prices

Medical Definition

balloon

1 of 2 noun
bal·​loon bə-ˈlün How to pronounce balloon (audio)
: a nonporous bag of tough light material that can be inflated (as in a bodily cavity) with air or gas
gastroesophageal tamponade by introduction of a balloon into the stomach

balloon

2 of 2 transitive verb
: to inflate or distend like a balloon

intransitive verb

: to swell or puff out

Legal Definition

balloon

adjective
bal·​loon
: being or having a final installment that is much larger than preceding ones in an installment or term loan
a balloon payment

Note: In contrast to an amortized loan, a balloon loan is generally repaid in periodic payments of interest and a large, lump sum payment of principal at the end of the term.

More from Merriam-Webster on balloon

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