Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. (noun) Matter regarding marvelous and incredible events inserted in a newspaper to fill space.
‘Balaam’ comes from the story of Balaam the prophet and the miracle of his talking donkey.
“I must get a friend's assistance for the scientific part, and add some balaam of mine own (as printers' devils say) to make up four or five pages.”
“I well know (and so does every body that ever stepped into a printing office) that a certain proportion of what is technically called 'balaam' must go to fill up the pages of every periodical work, from the Scotsman to the Edinburgh Review inclusive.”
“Balaam, technically speaking, is that rejected, diseased and unwholesome manuscript which lies about a printing office, which gets into type only on extraordinary emergencies, when there is an addition to the Editor's family, or an uncommonly late sitting at a Saint's festival or a more than usually jolly packet launching and lunching.”