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 Most likely your parents helped you fashion blocks of pine or balsa into a light, four-wheeled racer, usually about the width and length of an iPhone. Andrew Zaleski, Popular Science, "Meet the dads who can’t quit pinewood derby racing—even after their kids are over it," 3 June 2020 Turbine blades typically have glass-fibre skins, balsa-wood cores and metal or carbon-fibre spars. The Economist, "Crackle, pop, snap Self-destructing glue solves a sticky environmental problem," 28 May 2020 This superb and innovative balsa-wood plug has been around longer than most anglers who fish it. Bob Mcnally, Field & Stream, "The 9 Best Crappie Lures Ever Made," 22 May 2020 The Scatter Raps are made of balsa wood and are available in 14 colors. Field & Stream, "The Best Hunting and Fishing Gear of the Decade," 27 Dec. 2019 For the kitchen island, White assembled balsa wood into a simple table design, then painted it to look like marble veining. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "This Glam Dollhouse by Eneia White Has a Tiny, Professionally Upholstered Sofa," 31 Dec. 2019 Outside of its optimal use cases, millimeter-wave’s fragility will probably leave it as the balsa wood of bandwidth solutions. Rob Pegoraro, Ars Technica, "5G on the horizon: Here’s what it is and what’s coming," 4 Dec. 2019 One of the new artificial muscle designs is, in essence, a small, high-tech version of the rubber bands used to propel balsa-wood airplanes. Sid Perkins, Scientific American, "A New Twist on Artificial Muscles," 11 July 2019 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

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.

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First Known Use of balsa

circa 1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for balsa


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Time Traveler for balsa

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The first known use of balsa was circa 1600

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Last Updated

12 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Balsa.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for balsa


How to pronounce balsa (audio)

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

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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

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