Definitions

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

  • n. A flexible bag designed to be inflated with hot air or with a gas, such as helium, that is lighter than the surrounding air, causing it to rise and float in the atmosphere.
  • n. Such a bag with sufficient capacity to lift and transport a suspended gondola or other load.
  • n. Such a bag shaped like a figure or object when inflated; an inflatable.
  • n. A usually round or oblong inflatable rubber bag used as a toy.
  • n. Medicine A sac that is inserted into a body cavity or tube and distended with air or gas for therapeutic purposes, such as angioplasty.
  • n. A rounded or irregularly shaped outline containing the words that a character in a cartoon is represented to be saying.
  • intransitive v. To ascend or ride in a balloon.
  • intransitive v. To expand or swell out like a balloon. See Synonyms at bulge.
  • intransitive v. To increase or rise quickly.
  • transitive v. To cause to expand by or as if by inflating.
  • adj. Suggestive of a balloon, as in shape: balloon curtains.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An inflatable buoyant object, often (but not necessarily) round and flexible.
  • n. Such an object as a child’s toy.
  • n. Such an object designed to transport people through the air.
  • n. A sac inserted into part of the body for therapeutic reasons; such as angioplasty.
  • n. A speech bubble.
  • n. A type of glass cup, sometimes used for brandy.
  • v. To increase or expand rapidly.
  • v. To go up or voyage in a balloon.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A bag made of silk or other light material, and filled with hydrogen gas or heated air, so as to rise and float in the atmosphere; especially, one with a car attached for aërial navigation.
  • n. A ball or globe on the top of a pillar, church, etc., as at St. Paul's, in London.
  • n. A round vessel, usually with a short neck, to hold or receive whatever is distilled; a glass vessel of a spherical form.
  • n. A bomb or shell.
  • n. A game played with a large inflated ball.
  • n. The outline inclosing words represented as coming from the mouth of a pictured figure.
  • transitive v. To take up in, or as if in, a balloon.
  • intransitive v. To go up or voyage in a balloon.
  • intransitive v. To expand, or puff out, like a balloon.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A large inflated ball of leather, used in playing certain games; a game played with such a ball.
  • n. In chem., a round vessel with a short neck, used as a receiver in distillation; a glass receiver of a spherical form.
  • n. In architecture, a ball or globe on the top of a pillar.
  • n. In pyrotechnics, a ball of pasteboard or a kind of bomb stuffed with combustibles, which, bursting like a bomb, exhibits sparks of fire like stars.
  • n. In weaving, a cylindrical reel on which sized woolen yarn for warp is wound in order to be dried by rapid revolution in a heated chamber.
  • n. A bag or hollow vessel filled with hydrogen gas or heated air, or any other gaseous fluid lighter than common air, and thus caused to rise and float in the atmosphere.
  • n. In comic engravings, a figure shaped like a balloon and inclosing words which are represented as issuing from the mouth of a speaker.
  • n. A state barge of Siam, made in fanciful imitation of a sea-monster, and having 70 to 100 oars on a side.
  • n. In cricket and base-ball, a lofty hit which gives a fielder the chance to catch a batsman out.
  • n. In spinning, the convex curve assumed by yarn on a ring-frame.
  • To carry up or transport in, or as in, a balloon.
  • To distend with air, gas, or water, as the abdomen in tympanites, or the rectum or vagina with specially constructed apparatus.
  • To make ascents in a balloon.
  • To swell out like a balloon; in ring-spinning, to fly outward centrifugally from the spindle: said of yarn.

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

  • n. large tough nonrigid bag filled with gas or heated air
  • n. small thin inflatable rubber bag with narrow neck
  • v. become inflated
  • v. ride in a hot-air balloon

Etymologies

French ballon, from Italian dialectal ballone, augmentative of balla, ball, of Germanic origin; see bhel-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
1570, "a game played with a large, inflated leather ball" (possibly via Middle French ballon) from Italian pallone "large ball" from palla "ball", from Lombardic palla "ball" from Proto-Germanic *ballô (“ball”), from Proto-Indo-European *bholn- (“bubble”), from Proto-Indo-European *bhel- (“to blow, swell, inflate”). Akin to Old High German ballo, bal "ball" (German Ballen "bale"; Ball "ball"). More at ball. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • Nice find, hh. I just added it to my spinning list, too.

    August 1, 2011

  • Century Dictionary says: "A state barge of Siam, made in fanciful imitation of a sea-monster, and having 70 to 100 oars on a side."

    August 1, 2011

  • balloon

    January 31, 2010

  • When used as a verb.

    December 12, 2006