\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

To instantly wash away even the thickest of products, makeup artist Alice Lane suggests smoothing on RMS Beauty’s raw coconut oil balm and removing it with a hot towel. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "9 Makeup Removers for Halloween and Beyond," 30 Oct. 2018 Pfizer has been exploring since late last year selling or spinning off its consumer-health business, which sells products such as Advil pain pills, ChapStick lip balm and Centrum vitamins. Cara Lombardo, WSJ, "Pfizer Revenue Growth Stalls as Company Mulls OTC Unit’s Future," 1 May 2018 There will also be a Rose Bakery, run by Joffe’s sister, Rose Carrarini, which is in three other Dover Street locations, offering soft-boiled eggs with toast and Marmite and carrot cake as its own kind of balm. Alexandra Marshall, WSJ, "Dover Street Market Expands While Defying Retail Convention," 14 Aug. 2018 Jacob said lipstick-wearers usually have some protection built in since many lipsticks have titanium oxide as their base, but for those who don’t, be sure to use some sort of SPF-containing lip balm. Debbie Carlson,, "What you need to know about cosmetics with SPF," 29 May 2018 To tame pesky flyaways, Berg’s secret strategy is using a toothbrush with a touch of Tancho hair balm. Sophie Dodd,, "Carrie Ann Inaba Goes All Out for Season Finale of DWTS," 22 May 2018 Always some kind of lip balm or something because my lips get dried out. Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle, "Vanessa Williams talks touring the world, hearing herself on the radio and ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’," 11 Apr. 2018 Beckham said of this conditioning balm specifically. Garrett Munce, GQ, "We Tried David Beckham's New Grooming Line," 1 Mar. 2018 The formulas of the lip balm, shadows, and cheek products are all soft, silky, and light. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Watch What Happens When You Take Gigi Hadid's Jetsetter Palette On Your Commute," 7 Nov. 2017

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

6 Dec 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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More from Merriam-Webster on balm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with balm

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for balm

Spanish Central: Translation of balm

Nglish: Translation of balm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of balm for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about balm

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).


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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