\ ˈbä(l)m \

Definition of balm 

1 : a balsamic (see balsamic sense 1) resin especially : one from small tropical evergreen trees (genus Commiphora of the family Burseraceae)

2 : an aromatic preparation (such as a healing ointment) applied a balm to the wound

3 botany : any of several aromatic plants of the mint family especially : lemon balm

4 : a spicy aromatic odor … the white lilies in the garden, the herb bed near the bees—everything sent out fragrance and balm into the soft air … —Agnes S. Turnbull

5 : a soothing restorative agency Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love. —Jane Austen

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Examples of balm in a Sentence

Art can be a balm to the soul. She shows that laughter is a balm for difficult times.

Recent Examples on the Web

Be liberal with your sun-protective lip balm—the AAD recommends using at least SPF 30. Sarah Klein,, "8 Questions You're Too Embarrassed to Ask About Sun Protection," 3 July 2018 Their world-famous lip balm is purchased at least once every second. Southern Living, "5 Awesome Products Surprisingly Made in the South," 20 June 2018 On the nightstand was a matte blue Czech dish for my lip balm and earplugs. Longreads, "Trying to Kill the Want," 20 June 2018 Beer swilling In a county that can draw a stream of pinkies-up tourists, Russian River Brewing Company is a soothing balm. David Ferry, San Francisco Chronicle, "10 must-do’s in Sonoma County," 19 Apr. 2018 Why not try making your own lip balm or lotion bars at the library? Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Week ahead: Make your own holiday treats, gifts to give and learn about holiday animals," 9 Dec. 2017 More Pfizer has been reviewing strategic options for the consumer health-care business, which sells brands like Advil pain medicine, Centrum vitamins and ChapStick lip balm, since last year. Allison Prang, WSJ, "Pfizer to Reorganize Business Units," 11 July 2018 Sun care products, including lotions and lip balms, bring in about $1 billion a year in the United States alone, and a lot of them are used in tropical vacation spots. Peter Fimrite,, "Hawaii to ban sunscreen that damages coral," 7 July 2018 Products offered include lip balm, muscle rub, bug spray, deodorant, toothpaste, syrups, teas, iron supplements and more. Austen Erblat,, "Sunshine Organic Herbals now open in Delray Beach," 6 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'balm.' 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 balm

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for balm

Middle English basme, baume, from Anglo-French, from Latin balsamum balsam

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Statistics for balm

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for balm

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

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More Definitions for balm



English Language Learners Definition of balm

: an oily substance that has a pleasant smell and that is used for healing, smoothing, or protecting the skin

: something that gives comfort or support


\ ˈbäm , ˈbälm \

Kids Definition of balm

: a greasy substance used for healing or protecting the skin lip balm


\ ˈbä(l)m, New England also ˈbȧm \

Medical Definition of balm 

1 : a balsamic resin especially : one from small tropical evergreen trees (genus Commiphora of the family Burseraceae)

2 : an aromatic preparation (as a healing ointment)

3 : a soothing restorative agency

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Comments on balm

What made you want to look up balm? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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