from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A weighing device, especially one consisting of a rigid beam horizontally suspended by a low-friction support at its center, with identical weighing pans hung at either end, one of which holds an unknown weight while the effective weight in the other is increased by known amounts until the beam is level and motionless.
  • n. A state of equilibrium or parity characterized by cancellation of all forces by equal opposing forces.
  • n. The power or means to decide.
  • n. A state of bodily equilibrium: thrown off balance by a gust of wind.
  • n. The ability to maintain bodily equilibrium: Gymnasts must have good balance.
  • n. A stable mental or psychological state; emotional stability.
  • n. A harmonious or satisfying arrangement or proportion of parts or elements, as in a design. See Synonyms at proportion.
  • n. An influence or force tending to produce equilibrium; counterpoise.
  • n. The difference in magnitude between opposing forces or influences.
  • n. Accounting Equality of totals in the debit and credit sides of an account.
  • n. Accounting The difference between such totals, either on the credit or the debit side.
  • n. Something that is left over; a remainder.
  • n. Chemistry Equality of mass and net electric charge of reacting species on each side of an equation.
  • n. Mathematics Equality with respect to the net number of reduced symbolic quantities on each side of an equation.
  • n. A balance wheel.
  • transitive v. To determine the weight of (something) in or as if in a weighing device.
  • transitive v. To compare by or as if by turning over in the mind: balanced the pros and cons before making a choice.
  • transitive v. To bring into or maintain in a state of equilibrium.
  • transitive v. To act as an equalizing weight or force to; counterbalance.
  • transitive v. Accounting To compute the difference between the debits and credits of (an account).
  • transitive v. Accounting To reconcile or equalize the sums of the debits and credits of (an account).
  • transitive v. Accounting To settle (an account, for example) by paying what is owed.
  • transitive v. To bring into or keep in equal or satisfying proportion or harmony.
  • transitive v. Mathematics To bring (an equation) into balance.
  • transitive v. Chemistry To bring (an equation) into balance.
  • transitive v. To move toward and then away from (a dance partner).
  • intransitive v. To be in or come into equilibrium.
  • intransitive v. To be equal or equivalent.
  • intransitive v. To sway or waver as if losing or regaining equilibrium.
  • intransitive v. To move toward and then away from a dance partner.
  • idiom in the balance In an undetermined and often critical position: Our plans were left hanging in the balance. Resolution of that item is still in the balance.
  • idiom on balance Taking everything into consideration; all in all.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a state in which opposing forces harmonise; equilibrium
  • n. mental equilibrium; mental health; calmness, a state of remaining clear-headed and unperturbed
  • n. something of equal weight used to provide equilibrium (literally or figuratively); counterweight
  • n. a pair of scales
  • n. awareness of both viewpoints or matters; neutrality; rationality; objectivity
  • n. the overall result of conflicting forces, opinions etc.; the influence which ultimately "weighs" more than others
  • n. apparent harmony in art (between differing colours, sounds, etc.)
  • n. a list accounting for the debits on one side, and for the credits on the other.
  • n. the result of such a procedure; the difference between credit and debit of an account.
  • n. a device used to regulate the speed of a watch, clock etc.
  • n. the remainder.
  • n. Libra
  • v. to make (items) weigh up.
  • v. (figurative) to make (concepts) agree.
  • v. to hold (an object or objects) precariously.
  • v. to make the credits and debits of (an account) correspond.
  • v. to be in equilibrium.
  • v. to have matching credits and debits.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An apparatus for weighing.
  • n. Act of weighing mentally; comparison; estimate.
  • n. Equipoise between the weights in opposite scales.
  • n. The state of being in equipoise; equilibrium; even adjustment; steadiness.
  • n. An equality between the sums total of the two sides of an account; ; -- also, the excess on either side.
  • n. A balance wheel, as of a watch, or clock. See Balance wheel (in the Vocabulary).
  • n.
  • n. The constellation Libra.
  • n. The seventh sign in the Zodiac, called Libra, which the sun enters at the equinox in September.
  • n. A movement in dancing. See Balance, v. t., 8.
  • intransitive v. To have equal weight on each side; to be in equipoise.
  • intransitive v. To fluctuate between motives which appear of equal force; to waver; to hesitate.
  • intransitive v. To move toward a person or couple, and then back.
  • transitive v. To bring to an equipoise, as the scales of a balance by adjusting the weights; to weigh in a balance.
  • transitive v. To support on a narrow base, so as to keep from falling.
  • transitive v. To equal in number, weight, force, or proportion; to counterpoise, counterbalance, counteract, or neutralize.
  • transitive v. To compare in relative force, importance, value, etc.; to estimate.
  • transitive v. To settle and adjust, as an account; to make two accounts equal by paying the difference between them.
  • transitive v. To make the sums of the debits and credits of an account equal; -- said of an item.
  • transitive v. To arrange accounts in such a way that the sum total of the debits is equal to the sum total of the credits.
  • transitive v. To move toward, and then back from, reciprocally.
  • transitive v. To contract, as a sail, into a narrower compass.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To weigh; especially, to weigh or consider in the mind; ponder over.
  • To estimate the relative weight or importance of, as two or more things; make a comparison between as to relative importance, force, value, etc.
  • To bring into a state of equipoise or equilibrium; arrange or adjust (the several parts of a thing) symmetrically: as, to balance the several parts of a machine or a painting.
  • To keep in equilibrium or equipoise; poise; steady: as, to balance a pole on one's chin.
  • To serve as a counterpoise to; counterbalance; offset: as, the ups and downs of life balance each other.
  • To bring into a state of equality; make equal; offset (one thing with another).
  • To use as a counterpoise or set-off.
  • To sway up and down, like the arms of a balance.
  • To settle by paying what remains due on an account; equalize or adjust.
  • To examine or compare by summations, etc., so as to show how assets and liabilities or debits and credits stand: as, let us balance our accounts.
  • Nautical, to steady (a ship in bad weather) by reefing with a balance-reef.
  • To have an equality or equivalence in weight, parts, etc.; be in a state of equipoise; be evenly adjusted: as, the two things exactly balance; I cannot make the account balance.
  • To oscillate like the beams of a balance; waver; hesitate.
  • In dancing, to move forward and backward, or in opposite directions, like the arms of a balance; especially, to set to a partner.
  • To be employed in finding the balance or balances of an account or accounts.
  • n. An instrument for determining the weight of bodies as compared with an assumed unit-mass.
  • n. Any apparatus for weighing, as a steelyard or a spring-balance.
  • n. One of the scales of a balance; in the plural, scales.
  • n. The act of weighing mentally; the act of comparing or estimating two things as in a balance.
  • n. An equivalent or equalizing weight; that which is put into one scale to offset the weight in the other; the weight necessary to make up the difference between two unequal weights; a counterpoise, literally or figuratively. Specifically
  • n. In mining, a counterpoise or counterweight used in such a way as to assist the engine in lifting the load.
  • n. The part of a clock or watch which regulates the beats: formerly, a pin oscillating on its center, and thus resembling the beam of a balance; now, a wheel. See balance-wheel.
  • n. The arithmetical difference between the two sides of an account: as, to strike a balance.
  • n. The sum or amount necessary to balance the two sides of an account, usually spoken of as a debit or a credit balance: as, I have still a balance at my banker's; a balance still due.
  • n. A surplus; a remainder; the rest; the residue; what remains or is left over: as, he bequeathed the balance of his estate to A. B.; the balance of a meal.
  • n. A balanced condition; a state of equilibrium or equipoise: as, to lose one's balance.
  • n. Harmonious arrangement or adjustment; just proportion, especially in the arts of design.
  • n. In astronomy, a sign of the zodiac, called in Latin Libra, which the sun enters at the equinox in September.
  • n. a weighing apparatus somewhat resembling the steelyard, but differing from it in having the fulcrum movable, the weight being at one end and the load at the other; the loop by which it is suspended is shifted along the beam until equilibrium is established. The weight of the substance in the scale-pan is indicated by the point at which the fulcrum is placed when the instrument is in equilibrium.
  • n. In engines, a condition in which the forces at play due to the masses of the moving mechanism are balanced by others which operate in a contrary sense, so that the engine has no tendency to lift or slide upon its foundation, but would run without jar even if not secured to such foundation.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. hold or carry in equilibrium
  • n. the difference between the totals of the credit and debit sides of an account
  • n. (mathematics) an attribute of a shape or relation; exact reflection of form on opposite sides of a dividing line or plane
  • n. the seventh sign of the zodiac; the sun is in this sign from about September 23 to October 22
  • n. (astrology) a person who is born while the sun is in Libra
  • n. equality between the totals of the credit and debit sides of an account
  • n. a state of equilibrium
  • v. be in equilibrium
  • n. a scale for weighing; depends on pull of gravity
  • n. harmonious arrangement or relation of parts or elements within a whole (as in a design)
  • v. bring into balance or equilibrium
  • n. a weight that balances another weight
  • n. something left after other parts have been taken away
  • v. compute credits and debits of an account
  • n. a wheel that regulates the rate of movement in a machine; especially a wheel oscillating against the hairspring of a timepiece to regulate its beat
  • n. equality of distribution


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English balaunce, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *bilancia, having two scale pans, from Latin bilānx : bi-, two.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French balance, from Late Latin *bilancia, from (accusative form of) Latin bilanx ("two-scaled"), from bi- + lanx ("plate, scale").



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