balmier; balmiest
: having the qualities of balm : soothing
… 'tis a soldier's life to have their balmy slumbers wak'd with strife.Shakespeare
: mild, temperate
balmy weather
a balmy summer evening
: lacking reason or mental soundness : foolish, irrational
… he is now likely to feel that a rather large part of the country has gone slightly balmy.George A. Parks
balmily adverb
balminess noun

Did you know?

Aromatic ointments and fragrances are the bomb. They are also, literally, balms: healing substances and soothing scents with the power to ease both mind and body. The original balm, what Latin-speakers referred to as balsamum, was the oleoresin of a species of balsam tree. In Anglo-French, balsamum became basme and baume, spellings which entered Middle English and later became balm. Balm eventually begat the adjective balmy, used to describe things with a balm’s comforting, calming qualities, as when Shakespeare’s Othello speaks of “balmy slumbers.” Today balmy is typically used to describe the weather—balmy breezes, balmy temperatures, balmy spring afternoons, et al—conditions that are neither too hot nor too cold, but just right—Goldilocks conditions, even.

Examples of balmy in a Sentence

a completely balmy but harmless old man who talked intently to plants and believed they answered back a pleasant, balmy breeze was all that stirred the wildflowers growing near the shore
Recent Examples on the Web For many, the best time to visit the Maldives is December to April, as that's dry season, with little rain and low humidity leading to bright blue skies, cloudless days and still, balmy evenings. Anna Prendergast, Condé Nast Traveler, 21 Nov. 2023 On a balmy day this past May, for the first time in four years, the lagoon in Tautira saw the return of its apex predator. Tiare Tuuhia, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Nov. 2023 The scientists suspect the balmy climate in the caterpillar’s home acts like a perpetual fever, suppressing the male-killing effect. Elizabeth Anne Brown, New York Times, 6 Nov. 2023 In a network of caves and crevices carved through the rock, the water was a balmy 25 degrees C. Jack Tamisiea, Scientific American, 9 Aug. 2023 On a balmy, overcast October afternoon in South Carolina, Tim Scott, the state’s junior senator and current Republican presidential hopeful, worked his way from the back of the Corner Perk Brunch Cafe to a makeshift stage at the front of the crowded room. Clyde McGrady, New York Times, 5 Nov. 2023 Tola broke away around mile 19 and finished the 26.2-mile course in 2 hours, four minutes and 58 seconds on a partly cloudy, balmy day. Rachel Bachman, WSJ, 5 Nov. 2023 Then there is the harsh Martian environment, where the temperature varies between a balmy 20 degrees C in summer to -125 degrees C at the poles. The Physics Arxiv Blog, Discover Magazine, 12 Oct. 2023 From our correspondents In Ukraine, Russia’s winter attacks on infrastructure have started: After an initially balmy fall, temperatures are dropping in Ukraine — and Russia has already begun pummeling Ukraine’s energy system, David L. Stern reports from Kyiv. Frances Vinall, Washington Post, 11 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'balmy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see balm

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of balmy was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near balmy

Cite this Entry

“Balmy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


balmier; balmiest
: gently soothing
: temperate sense 5
balmy weather
ˈbäm-ə-lē How to pronounce balmy (audio)
ˈbäm-ē-nəs How to pronounce balmy (audio)

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