\ ˈbä(l)m How to pronounce balm (audio) \

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 Of course, proximity to the water—nature’s balm for frayed nerves—plays a large part. Susan Hall Mahon, Southern Living, "Coastal Living Has a New Furniture Line (You're Going to Want It All!)," 29 June 2020 The Transportation Security Administration recommends travelers put personal items such as cellphones, keys, lip balm and tissues in their carry-on bags instead of in a bin to avoid cross-contamination. USA Today, "Here's how to stay safe when flying during the coronavirus pandemic," 29 June 2020 Day weekend, including a 79% jump in lip balm purchases and a 55% increase in breath strips and sublinguals. Kristine Owram,, "April Pot Sales Show Resilience Amid Shutdown: Cannabis Weekly," 22 June 2020 Similarly, the filmmaker hopes this film will act as not only an educational tool, but also a balm for young women who see it. Anne Cohen,, "Oge Egbuonu Wants Black Women To Feel Seen In Her Outstanding Directorial Debut," 21 June 2020 The mere sight of nine humans, sans masks, in proximity to one another was, for me at least, a balm for the psyche. Amy Wallace, The Atlantic, "The Curious Comforts of a YouTube Show About Group Therapy," 11 June 2020 There are even more helpful headbands designed to hold mask straps available on Amazon, including various styles, prints, and colors, as well as mask extenders and anti-chafing balm for further relief. Jessica Leigh Mattern,, "These Clever Headbands Ease Ear Pain from Face Masks — and They’re on Sale," 9 June 2020 For Mr Sánchez’s minority government, that is balm after a rough fortnight. The Economist, "Raising the floor Spain’s embattled government proposes a new anti-poverty scheme," 6 June 2020 The quiet has been a balm for those who feel the quarter has simply become too commercial over the past 30 years. Kevin Mcgill, USA TODAY, "'An old neighborhood again': What New Orleans' French Quarter has been like without tourists," 1 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for balm

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for balm

Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Balm.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for balm


How to pronounce balm (audio)

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 How to pronounce balm (audio) , 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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for balm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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