bal·​sa | \ ˈbȯl-sə How to pronounce balsa (audio) \

Definition of balsa

1 : a small raft or boat specifically : one made of tightly bundled reeds and used on Lake Titicaca
2 : a tropical American tree (Ochroma pyramidale synonym O. lagopus) of the silk-cotton family with extremely light strong wood used especially for floats also : its wood

Examples of balsa in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In the session devoted to structures, Michelle Kim, 11, and her partner designed and constructed a miniature bridge out of balsa wood and learned a triangle can withstand more weight than other shapes. Mike Glenn, Houston Chronicle, "Katy ISD holds summer STEM camp," 17 June 2019 Annie’s work thus far has been meticulously verisimilar, bordering on minimalist, with depopulated nurseries and studios built of balsa wood. Katherine Fusco, The Atlantic, "Hereditary and the Monstrousness of Creative Moms," 11 July 2018 Every child under 16 will receive a free balsa airplane of their own to make and fly. 'sam' Boyer/special To,, "Now it's possible to show what we talk about: Whit & Whimsey," 4 May 2018 In addition to paintings, Matos carves figures out of balsa wood and mounts them on canvases. Susan Dunne,, "Upward Hartford: By Day A Place Of Business, By Night A Social Hub For Mingling Around Art, Music, Drink," 27 Mar. 2018 Lead architects order up model after model after model, each one an intricate sculpture in foam, paper, and balsa. Justin Davidson, The Cut, "What Would a World Designed by Women Look Like?," 20 Mar. 2018 During the nascent days of the California surf scene, surfers were building craft out of balsa, cedar, and redwood. Aeriel Brown,, "How to Make a Surfboard," 22 Dec. 2017 The bride's bouquet included dusty miller and eco-friendly balsa wood flowers. Southern Living, "Chic Outdoor Wedding," 19 Jan. 2011 The Dolphins and their 4-2 record are that pretty beach house on balsa-wood stilts. Greg Cote, miamiherald, "Nobody believes in the Dolphins, but here comes national stage to prove doubters wrong," 25 Oct. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of balsa

circa 1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for balsa


Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about balsa

Dictionary Entries near balsa






balsam apple

balsam bog

Statistics for balsa

Last Updated

27 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for balsa

The first known use of balsa was circa 1600

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for balsa



English Language Learners Definition of balsa

: the very light wood of a tropical American tree


bal·​sa | \ ˈbȯl-sə How to pronounce balsa (audio) \

Kids Definition of balsa

: the very light but strong wood of a tropical American tree

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on balsa

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with balsa

Spanish Central: Translation of balsa

Nglish: Translation of balsa for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about balsa

Comments on balsa

What made you want to look up balsa? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!