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

  • n. Any of several aromatic resins, such as balsam of Peru and balsam of Tolu, that contain considerable amounts of benzoic acid, cinnamic acid, or both, or their esters.
  • n. Any of several other fragrant plant resins, such as Canada balsam.
  • n. A similar substance, especially a fragrant ointment used as medication; a balm.
  • n. Any of various trees, especially the balsam fir, yielding an aromatic resinous substance.
  • n. See jewelweed.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sweet-smelling oil or resin derived from various plants.
  • n. A plant or tree yielding such substance.
  • n. A soothing ointment.
  • n. Something soothing.
  • n. A flowering plant of the genus Impatiens.
  • n. A balsam fir.
  • n. Canada balsam, a turpentine obtained from the resin of balsam fir.
  • v. To treat or anoint with balsam.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A resin containing more or less of an essential or volatile oil.
  • n.
  • n. A species of tree (Abies balsamea).
  • n. An annual garden plant (Impatiens balsamina) with beautiful flowers; balsamine.
  • n. Anything that heals, soothes, or restores.
  • transitive v. To treat or anoint with balsam; to relieve, as with balsam; to render balsamic.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To apply balsam or balm to; anoint with balm or balsam.
  • To embalm.
  • n. An oily, aromatic, resinous substance, exuding spontaneously from trees of the genus Balsamodendron; hence, by extension, any aromatic or odoriferous exudation from trees or shrubs, whether spontaneous or after incision; balm.
  • n. An aromatic preparation used for embalming the dead.
  • n. Any aromatic fragrant ointment, whether for ceremonial or for medicinal use, as for healing wounds or soothing pain.
  • n. Figuratively, any healing or soothing agent or agency.
  • n. In alchemy, a healthful preservative essence, of oily penetrative nature, conceived by Paracelsus to exist in all organic bodies.
  • n. A tree yielding an aromatic, oily resin.
  • n. The Impatiens balsamina, a familiar flowering annual, of Eastern origin, cultivated in many varieties, often called garden-balsam, and in the United States lady's-slipper; also, the native European species, I. Noli-me-tangere, and the American I. fulva. See Impatiens and jewel-weed.
  • n. In medical prescriptions abbreviated to bals.

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

  • n. an ointment containing a fragrant resin
  • n. any seed plant yielding balsam
  • n. any of various fragrant oleoresins used in medicines and perfumes


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

Latin balsamum, from Greek balsamon, of Semitic origin; see bśm in Semitic roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English *balsam, balsme, from Old English balsam, balsamum ("balsam, balm"), from Latin balsamum, from Ancient Greek βάλσαμον (balsamon, "balsam"), of Semitic origin.


  • Back: Spinach and feta “börek” roll, roasted bell peppers in balsam vinegar, a babybel cheese and a chocolate frog.

    Bento #223 « Were rabbits

  • Abies Englemanii, near of kin to what is often called the balsam fir.

    A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains

  • He then proceeds with the mass, during which the balsam is brought in, and also the oil for the chrism and that for the catechumens, by two deacons.

    04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004

  • Nipped by the frost till the tang of their loosened balsam is keener;

    The Watchman and Other Poems

  • The balsam is less common, generally found in marshy spots, in company with its kinsman, the tamarack, which in summer, at least, has all the appearance of an evergreen.

    Rural Hours

  • The balsam is a beautiful tree; though not aspiring to the dignity of the pine and hemlock, it shoots up in the most perfect and gradual spire-like form, to a height of thirty or forty feet, remarkable for its elegance; the foliage is very rich in color and quantity.

    Rural Hours

  • The most attractive tree I have seen is the silver spruce, Abies Englemanii, near of kin to what is often called the balsam fir.

    A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains

  • The Smith/Stearn/Smith volume lists the first but omits balsam from the vernacular list.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol V No 3

  • The Italian word balsam means balm, something soothing, even an ointment, and that it certainly is.

    Meathead Goldwyn: Balsamic Vinegar: Magnificence and Deception

  • A species of fir which one of my men informs me is precisely the same with that called the balsam fir of Canada. 1 it grows here to considerable size, being from 2 1/2 to 4 feet in diameter and rises to the hight of eighty or an hundred feet. it 's stem is simple branching, ascending and proliferous. it's leaves are sessile, acerose, one 1/8 of an inch in length and

    Original journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806


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  • "The border between fragrance and drugs was porous and ill-defined. Among the rarest and most expensive spices listed in herbals and merchants' handbooks are perfumed substances used primarily as medicines, things like balsam, an aromatic resin from a plant native to Arabia. Its sap was credited with marvelous healing properties but also with high spiritual powers. Balsam was called for in Christian rites involving anointment, such as baptism, the ordination of priests, and the consecration of bishops. Another Arabian resin, frankincense, was (and remains) the principal ingredient in the censing rituals of the Catholic and Orthodox churches. In keeping with the versatility characteristic of spices, frankincense was also used as a medicine, to scent houses, and to perfume banquets."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 14.

    Used in a translated primary source from ca. 900 on perfumer.

    October 9, 2017