\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

Johnson makes her own makeup, lip balm, blush (from cocoa powder), mascara and shampoo. Victoria Adams Fogg, Washington Post, "She cut her weekly trash down so much it fits in an unbelievably small jar," 7 July 2018 Céline sunglasses, Byredo travel perfume and case, Joelle Ciocco intensive eye care, Altoids peppermint mints, Rodin lip balm, travel size Marvis toothpaste, Mason Pearson brush, Muji sketchbook and pen, and Matt’s Munchies mango snacks. Tara Lamont-djite, Harper's BAZAAR, "Rosetta Getty's Travel-Focused Collection is All You Need to Pack," 29 June 2018 In 1943, Ingvar Kamprad was a 17-year-old budding entrepreneur selling udder balm, picture frames and other small-town wares from his home in rural Sweden. Derek Hawkins, Houston Chronicle, "Nazi past followed Ikea founder to his death," 29 Jan. 2018 The script, a group effort by Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, and Gabriel Ferrari, is snappy, and the jokes keep coming, making Ant-Man and the Wasp a healing balm after the dark ending of May's Avengers: Infinity War., "Ant-Man And The Wasp," 27 June 2018 Several central Alabama business have agreed to be drop-off sites for those wanting to donate lip balms. Anna Beahm,, "Boy collecting lip balm for kids at Children's Hospital," 2 May 2018 Contestants - who must be at least 18 years old - cannot use napkins or gloves or wear lip balm and there are no bathroom breaks. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Feeling the burn at Casian Crawfish," 21 Mar. 2018 Permafrost Beards beard oils and beard balms come in five scents: Wood Chip Whiskey, Yukon Spice, Minty Moose Drool, Arctic Birch and Denali Frost. Dorothy Chomicz, The Seattle Times, "Beard-grooming business grows out of owner’s ‘face jacket’," 11 Feb. 2018 Step 5: Moisturize Kathryn Wirsing Use a rose lip balm (try BY TERRY Baume de Rose, $60) to add moisture and wetness back into your lips. Lauren Valenti, Marie Claire, "I Tried Marilyn Monroe's Crazy Lip-Contouring Trick," 15 Apr. 2015

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

8 Nov 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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