\ ˈbä-mē How to pronounce balmy (audio) , ˈbäl-mē How to pronounce balmy (audio) \
balmier; balmiest

Definition of balmy

1a : having the qualities of balm : soothing … 'tis a soldier's life to have their balmy slumbers wak'd with strife.— Shakespeare
b : mild, temperate balmy weather a balmy summer evening
2 : crazy, foolish the country has gone slightly balmy— G. A. Parks

Other Words from balmy

balmily \ ˈbä(l)-​mə-​lē How to pronounce balmy (audio) \ adverb
balminess \ ˈbä(l)-​mē-​nəs How to pronounce balmy (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for balmy



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Did you know?

It's no secret that balmy is derived from balm, an aromatic ointment or fragrance that heals or soothes. So when did it come to mean "foolish," you might wonder? Balmy goes back to the 15th century and was often used in contexts referring to weather, such as "a balmy breeze" or, as Mark Twain wrote in Tom Sawyer, "The balmy summer air, the restful quiet...." Around the middle of the 19th century, it developed a new sense suggesting a weak or unbalanced mind. It is uncertain if the soft quality or the soothing effect of balm influenced this use. But later in the century, balmy became altered to barmy in its "crazy" sense. This alteration may have come about from a mix-up with another barmy, meaning "full of froth or ferment." That barmy is from barm, a term for the yeast formed on fermenting malt liquors, which can indeed make one act balmy.

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 The weather was balmy, even cool at times until Sunday evening, then the temperature rose, and the humidity hit with a vengeance. Janet Carson, Arkansas Online, 9 May 2022 People on both sides of the issue gathered outside the curt waving signs and chanting on a balmy Monday night following the release of the Politico report, and again on Tuesday. Zeke Miller And Jessica Gresko, Anchorage Daily News, 3 May 2022 In balmy Texas, a lace shirt is a godsend for Kevin Montes. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, 2 May 2022 And the refreshing blend of sandalwood, citrus, and teakwood recreates the vacation destination’s balmy breezes, turquoise waters, and sugary beaches. Katie Chang, Forbes, 24 Apr. 2022 Gary Wagoner showed up to a Family Dollar store in Union City on a balmy November day on a mission to find his sister, Linda, in their hometown. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, The Indianapolis Star, 11 Jan. 2022 It’s a sight rarely seen in these parts, where boats come and go all day long without incident: A 137-foot party yacht wedged under Fort Lauderdale’s busy Sunrise Boulevard Bridge on a balmy Saturday night. Susannah Bryan,, 22 Nov. 2021 Blessed with balmy weather and a sprawling shoreline, New Smyrna Beach is a veritable treasure trove for outdoor adventurers and wildlife aficionados alike. Jared Ranahan, Travel + Leisure, 30 Mar. 2022 Wednesday’s high will be a balmy 70 degrees — up from a high of 43 Tuesday — but that doesn’t mean Chicagoans will get to enjoy the warm weather. Katherine Rosenberg-douglas,, 29 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'balmy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of balmy

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

History and Etymology for balmy

see balm

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

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Dictionary Entries Near balmy

bal musette



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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Balmy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for balmy


\ ˈbä-mē How to pronounce balmy (audio) , ˈbäl-mē \
balmier; balmiest

Kids Definition of balmy

: warm, calm, and pleasant a balmy breeze

More from Merriam-Webster on balmy

Nglish: Translation of balmy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of balmy for Arabic Speakers


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