balloon

noun
bal·​loon | \ bə-ˈlün How to pronounce balloon (audio) \
plural balloons

Definition of balloon

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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
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

balloon

adjective

Definition of balloon (Entry 2 of 3)

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

verb
ballooned; ballooning; balloons

Definition of balloon (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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Examples of balloon in a Sentence

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The commission also faulted Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza, for encouraging Palestinians there to burn thousands of acres of Israeli farmland with improvised incendiary devices floated over the border on balloons and kites.... Dov Lieber, WSJ, "U.N. Slams Israel Over Violent Crackdown on Gaza Protesters," 28 Feb. 2019 Not helping, Oliver says, are algorithmic quirks that do damage when met with cultural differences and translation errors — like a disastrous feature that added balloons and confetti to survivor posts after an Indonesian earthquake. Aja Romano, Vox, "Watch: John Oliver explains how Facebook is wreaking havoc overseas," 24 Sep. 2018 Parker, who frequents the Taco Bell in Carbondale, Ill., every Tuesday and Friday, commemorated the birthday milestone in the same fast food restaurant, which was decorated with flowers, balloons and a message on the marquee sign. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Illinois woman celebrates 101st birthday at Taco Bell, is 'hooked' on Nacho Fries," 15 Aug. 2018 Getty ImagesGeorge Pimentel Just when the palace was about to put away the balloons and banners, Meghan Markle's best friend Jessica Mulroney has started the celebrations all over again. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle's Best Friend Jessica Mulroney Shares a Late Birthday Tribute," 9 Aug. 2018 On Friday night, several dozen people gathered at the high school to remember Ortiz, holding red and white balloons, and lighting candles as a tribute to the teenager. Amy B Wang, Washington Post, "A man confronted a teenage neighbor over early morning fireworks — then shot him to death, police say," 7 July 2018 Not everybody near the fence feels that talks and deals are the way to make the kites, balloons and rockets stop. NBC News, "Israeli border communities fearful of Palestinian protests and threats of fire," 28 June 2018 The terrifying footage spread on social media over the weekend, showing a tidal wave of snow balloon over the road: Despite the harrowing ordeal, nobody was hurt in the incident, according to local reports. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Harrowing Video Shows Massive Avalanche Blanket Colorado Highway," 4 Mar. 2019 After the personalized performance, an elated Isaiah snatched the balloon for his own enjoyment while Jacob continued to doze. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher Share First Video of Their Life With Baby Jacob," 3 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

What started in New York’s Gramercy Park Hotel as a handful of anti-establishment gallerists has ballooned into a multi-exhibitor, multi-day, and multi-pier circus on the radar of every major gallery, collector, and art aficionado around the world. Zachary Schwartz, Vogue, "The Armory Show’s Collectors Dinner Gathered the Art World's Most Influential," 6 Mar. 2019 Paul Ryan’s beloved tax reform law ballooned the deficit First, the debt. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Paul Ryan’s regrets, explained for Paul Ryan.," 29 Nov. 2018 Just before the recession, ballooning mortgage debt from the housing bubble had lifted that figure to nearly 125 percent. Christopher Rugaber, Fox News, "Stock market lifts US household wealth to $98.7 trillion," 8 Mar. 2018 By the fourth quarter of 2019, profits in the Russell 2000 are expected to balloon more than 30% above the year-earlier period. Michael Wursthorn, WSJ, "Small-Cap Stocks Take On New Shine as Markets Slump," 8 Jan. 2019 But these loans quickly drain consumers’ pocketbooks as interest rates balloon into the triple digits. Tim Chen, Fortune, "Banks Should Lead the Way Out of the Payday Lending Trap," 6 June 2018 What began as a trend with humble beginnings — in 2001, students were promposing over schools’ loudspeakers — quickly ballooned into an aspirational rite of passage, thanks to mainstream portrayals like MTV’s Laguna Beach. Allie Volpe, Teen Vogue, "Have Promposals Gotten Too Extra?," 24 Apr. 2018 What was once a slim margin had suddenly ballooned into a lopsided affair. Trevor Hass, BostonGlobe.com, "Foxborough boys shut down Scituate in lacrosse," 19 Apr. 2018 The food stamp program, which has ballooned in recent years, is expected to cost more than $600 billion over the next 10 years. Gregg Re, Fox News, "House GOP passes subsidy-packed farm bill, tightening food stamp rules and work requirements," 21 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of balloon

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

History and Etymology for balloon

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

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Statistics for balloon

Last Updated

24 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for balloon

The first known use of balloon was in 1783

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More Definitions for balloon

balloon

noun

English Language Learners Definition of balloon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a thin usually rubber bag that becomes larger when it is filled with air or gas
: a picture or space in a cartoon that contains words that are spoken or thought by a character

balloon

verb

English Language Learners Definition of balloon (Entry 2 of 2)

: to become bigger quickly

balloon

noun
bal·​loon | \ bə-ˈlün How to pronounce balloon (audio) \

Kids Definition of balloon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a bag that rises and floats above the ground when filled with heated air or with a gas that is lighter than air
2 : a toy or decoration consisting of a rubber bag that can be blown up with air or gas
3 : an outline containing words spoken or thought by a character (as in a cartoon)

balloon

verb
ballooned; ballooning

Kids Definition of balloon (Entry 2 of 2)

: to swell or puff out

balloon

noun
bal·​loon | \ bə-ˈlün How to pronounce balloon (audio) \

Medical Definition of balloon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

transitive verb

Medical Definition of balloon (Entry 2 of 2)

: to inflate or distend like a balloon

intransitive verb

: to swell or puff out

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balloon

adjective
bal·​loon

Legal Definition of balloon

: 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.

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