balance

noun
bal·​ance | \ ˈba-lən(t)s How to pronounce balance (audio) \

Definition of balance

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : physical equilibrium trouble keeping your balance on a sailboat lost his balance and fell a boxer kept off balance for a whole round
b : the ability to retain one's balance Gymnasts must have a good sense of balance.
2a : stability produced by even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis when the two sides of the scale are in balance tipped the statue off balance
b : equipoise between contrasting, opposing, or interacting elements … the balance we strike between security and freedom.— Earl Warren Both parties were interviewed to provide balance in the report. the right balance of diet and exercise
c accounting : equality between the totals of the two sides of an account
3a : an aesthetically pleasing integration of elements achieving balance in a work of art
b grammar : the juxtaposition in writing of syntactically parallel (see parallel entry 1 sense 3c) constructions containing similar or contrasting ideas (such as "to err is human; to forgive, divine")
4a accounting : an amount in excess especially on the credit side of an account has a comfortable balance in the bank You must maintain a minimum balance of $1000 in your account to avoid fees.
b : weight or force of one side in excess of another The balance of the evidence lay on the side of the defendant.
c : something left over : remainder answers will be given in the balance of this chapter— R. W. Murray
5 : mental and emotional steadiness I doubt that Thoreau would be thrown off balance by the fantastic sights and sounds of the 20th century.— E. B. White
6 : an instrument for weighing: such as
a : a beam that is supported freely in the center and has two pans of equal weight suspended from its ends
b : a device that uses the elasticity of a spiral spring for measuring weight or force
7 : a means of judging or deciding the balance of a free election
8 : a counterbalancing weight, force, or influence The comedic character serves as a balance to the serious subject matter of the play.
9 : an oscillating wheel operating with a hairspring to regulate the movement of a timepiece a watch's balance
in the balance or in balance
: with the fate or outcome about to be determined our future hangs in the balance as we await his decision
on balance
: with all things considered the meeting went well on balance

balance

verb
balanced; balancing

Definition of balance (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to poise or arrange in or as if in balance balancing a book on her head The legislature hasn't balanced the budget in years.
b : to bring into harmony or proportion I struggled to balance my career and family life. a balanced diet
c : to bring to a state or position of balance (see balance entry 1 sense 2) balanced the scales by adding a little more on one side
2a(1) accounting : to compute the difference between the debits and credits of (an account) balancing a company's books
(2) : to pay the amount due on : settle sent a check to balance her account
b(1) : to arrange so that one set of elements exactly equals another balance a mathematical equation
(2) chemistry : to complete (a chemical equation) so that the same number of atoms and electric charges of each kind appears on each side
3a : counterbalance, offset He served black coffee to help balance out the sweetness of the dessert. balance one consideration against another
b : to equal or equalize in weight, number, or proportion The good times balanced the bad times.
4 : to weigh in or as if in a balance (see balance entry 1 sense 6) balance the profit and loss to see what had been gained

intransitive verb

1 : to become balanced or established in balance Try balancing on one foot. The good times and bad times balanced out.
2 : to be an equal counterbalance often used with out His speed will likely balance out his competitor's greater strength.The discount and the shipping charge balance each other out.
3 : waver sense 1 balances and temporizes on matters that demand action

Examples of balance in a Sentence

Noun She had trouble keeping her balance as the boat rocked back and forth. The skater suddenly lost his balance and fell. Another skater bumped into him and knocked him off balance. Gymnasts need flexibility and balance. She has a good sense of balance. To provide balance in her news story, she interviewed members of both political parties. Temperature changes could upset the delicate balance of life in the forest. To lose weight you need the proper balance of diet and exercise. The food had a perfect balance of sweet and spicy flavors. It's important to keep your life in balance. Verb I find it difficult to balance on one foot. He had trouble balancing on his skis. He helped his daughter balance on her bicycle before she started peddling. The legislature is still trying to balance the state's budget. He balances his checkbook every month. Something's wrong: the books don't balance. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But the i4's balance is far more neutral, to the point where disengaging the stability control is an instant ticket to an unofficial drift mode. Dan Edmunds And Joe Lorio, Car and Driver, 29 July 2022 Years ago, work-life balance had a different meaning. Mike Weinberger, Rolling Stone, 27 July 2022 Many junior bankers, including Goldman Sachs employees, have been fighting for better work-life balance and flexible work-from-home options. Chloe Berger, Fortune, 26 July 2022 Other times, like the current inflation spike, balance is hard to find. Laurent Belsie, The Christian Science Monitor, 25 July 2022 President Meg Mainzer-Cohen said Sasaki and the city did a good job striking a balance between the neighborhood’s interests and those of the broader city. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 21 July 2022 Driving the interest of IT leaders in these technologies was the goal of striking a delicate balance between boosting the experience and generating revenue while managing costs. Chris Menier, Forbes, 18 July 2022 Vintage pieces set the tone for the color palette, striking the right balance between beach-casual and English formality that the Tennants were looking for. Sunset Magazine, 11 July 2022 But lawyers are more likely to be back in the office, and the legal industry is further along in striking the right balance between work-from-home and in-office strategies. Chicago Tribune Staff, Chicago Tribune, 8 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb For older individuals, more severe symptoms can include vomiting, an inability to balance, dizziness, forgetfulness or confusion. Zoe Christen Jones, CBS News, 23 July 2022 Especially since many students balance school and work, and Gen Z 18-year-olds have seen substantial workforce gains without a substantial accompanying decrease in schooling. Andrew Van Dam, Washington Post, 22 July 2022 Businesses must carefully balance costs against many factors like functionality, compliance needs and delivering their primary goals. Vivek Ahuja, Forbes, 11 July 2022 So here’s what to know: Flat soles are a crucial part of skate shoes, which allow riders to have greater control of their boards and to maximize their ability to balance themselves. Bernd Fischer, Men's Health, 5 July 2022 And the writers don't balance the series' plots well or make each of these three (eventually four, as Eleven ventures off on her own journey of self discovery) feel vital. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, 24 May 2022 And yes, sometimes the chemistry in brains needs medicine to balance it. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 23 May 2022 All of these help hydrate and balance the hair, as well as boost circulation. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 May 2022 Highly Sensitive Persons need a lot more downtime to balance themselves after ingesting stimuli – and that is perfectly okay. Alex Wagner, SPIN, 12 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of balance

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 6

Verb

1588, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2a(1)

History and Etymology for balance

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *bilancia, from Late Latin bilanc-, bilanx having two scalepans, from Latin bi- + lanc-, lanx plate

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The first known use of balance was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near balance

balan-

balance

balance a/the budget

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Statistics for balance

Last Updated

3 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Balance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/balance. Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for balance

balance

noun
bal·​ance | \ ˈba-ləns How to pronounce balance (audio) \

Kids Definition of balance

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a steady position or condition The gymnast kept her balance.
2 : something left over : remainder He spent the balance of his allowance.
3 : an instrument for weighing
4 : a state in which things occur in equal or proper amounts a balance of work and fun
5 : the amount of money in a bank account
6 : an amount of money still owed

balance

verb
balanced; balancing

Kids Definition of balance (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to make or keep steady : keep from falling … their slippery … forefeet did not allow them to balance there.— Dick King-Smith, Pigs Might Fly
2 : to make the two sides of (an account) add up to the same total
3 : to be or make equal in weight, number, or amount You must balance your schoolwork and outside activities.

balance

noun
bal·​ance | \ ˈbal-ən(t)s How to pronounce balance (audio) \

Medical Definition of balance

1 : an instrument for weighing
2 : mental and emotional steadiness
3a : the relation in physiology between the intake of a particular substance and its excretion used with positive when the intake of a substance is greater than the body's excretion of it and with negative when the intake of a substance is less than the body's excretion of it — see nitrogen balance, water balance
b : the maintenance (as in laboratory cultures) of a population at about the same condition and level

More from Merriam-Webster on balance

Nglish: Translation of balance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of balance for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about balance

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