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

  • n. Medicine A palpatory technique for detecting or examining a floating object in the body, as:
  • n. The use of a finger to push sharply against the uterus and detect the presence or position of a fetus by its return impact.
  • n. Palpation of the abdominal wall while a kidney is being pushed sharply from the backside, used as a test for determining the presence of a floating kidney.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A method of diagnosing pregnancy, in which the uterus is pushed with a finger to feel whether a foetus moves away and returns again.
  • n. An increased amount of fluid in the suprapatellar pouch of the knee.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In obstetrics, a method of testing pregnancy.
  • n. It consists of palpation, to determine the presence of a movable body in the abdomen, such as a child in the womb, a floating kidney, etc., by a sudden tap with the finger from below; this forces the body upward, and it can be felt again as it settles down upon the tip of the finger. Also called repercussion.

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

  • n. a palpatory technique for feeling a floating object in the body (especially for determining the position of a fetus by feeling the rebound of the fetus after a quick digital tap on the wall of the uterus)


French, from ballotter, to toss, from Italian ballotta, diminutive of dialectal balla, ball; see balloon.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French ballottement, from ballotterĀ ("ballot"). (Wiktionary)


  • The differential diagnosis is with a non displaced fracture of the ankle: edema, pain over the external lateral ligament, and look for ballottement of the ankle bone.

    Chapter 8

  • Cephalic ballottement was obtained in the large tumor.

    Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine


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