im·​bal·​ance (ˌ)im-ˈba-lən(t)s How to pronounce imbalance (audio)
plural imbalances
: lack of balance : the state of being out of equilibrium or out of proportion
a structural imbalance
a chemical imbalance in the brain
"… The talks are aimed at reducing the trade imbalance … between the world`s two largest economic powers. …"Norah O'Donnell
A key element of the definition of bullying is a power imbalance that enables the abusive behavior.Patricia Vowinkel
Some have suffered an imbalance of gait known as ataxia.Lawrence K. Altman
imbalanced adjective

Examples of imbalance in a Sentence

Her depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. the problem of racial imbalance in schools
Recent Examples on the Web The sale comes at a moment when museum professionals are expressing a desire to correct persistent gender imbalances in their collections, a task that’s especially challenging for periods of art history that were dominated by men. Julia Binswanger, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Nov. 2023 Now a new study finds that accounting for power-flow imbalances can reveal better ways to incorporate renewable energy into grids. IEEE Spectrum, 29 Nov. 2023 The reason why is a structural housing-supply imbalance, fueled by historic population growth fueled by immigration and a pre-existing shortage of residential units. Wsj Pro, WSJ, 21 Nov. 2023 Ukraine has always been outmatched by Russia's superior artillery firepower, however this imbalance, which is key on the battlefield, is set to get worse. Tom Soufi Burridge, ABC News, 17 Nov. 2023 But then there’s our own contemporary perspective, too — our dismay at the gross imbalance of power between this male superstar and, at most, a very young woman. Tom Gliatto, Peoplemag, 26 Oct. 2023 This can lead to discomfort and ultimately set the stage for muscle imbalances: Your upper-back muscles lengthen while your chest muscles tighten, as SELF previously reported. Jenny McCoy, SELF, 23 Oct. 2023 Chip Colwell, a former senior curator for the Denver Museum of Nature & Science who oversaw repatriations, said the funding and power imbalance between museums and tribes was evident in his work. Nicole Santa Cruz, ProPublica, 20 Oct. 2023 On the face of it, this is a conflict that appears to be completely asymmetric between a state and a terrorist group, but subterranean warfare reduces this imbalance, making underground warfare attractive to terrorist groups all over. Foreign Affairs, 9 Nov. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1890, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of imbalance was circa 1890

Dictionary Entries Near imbalance

Cite this Entry

“Imbalance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


im·​bal·​ance (ˈ)im-ˈbal-ən(t)s How to pronounce imbalance (audio)
: the state of being out of balance or out of proportion

Medical Definition


im·​bal·​ance (ˈ)im-ˈbal-ən(t)s How to pronounce imbalance (audio)
: lack of balance : the state of being out of equilibrium or out of proportion: as
: loss of parallel relation between the optical axes of the eyes caused by faulty action of the extrinsic muscles and often resulting in diplopia
: absence of biological equilibrium
a vitamin imbalance
if the ductus arteriosus fails to close, a circulatory imbalance resultsE. B. Steen & Ashley Montagu
: a disproportion between the number of males and females in a population
imbalanced adjective
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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