[bal-uh n-sey; French ba-lahn-sey]
noun, plural bal·an·cés [bal-uh n-seyz; French ba-lahn-sey] /ˌbæl ənˈseɪz; French ba lɑ̃ˈseɪ/. Ballet.
  1. a swaying step performed in place in which the weight is lightly shifted from one foot to the other, the dancer sinking down on the heel of the foot to which the body is shifting, with flexed knees.

Origin of balancé

< French, noun use of past participle of balancer to balance, swing, rock Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for balancé


  1. a weighing device, generally consisting of a horizontal beam pivoted at its centre, from the ends of which two pans are suspended. The substance to be weighed is placed in one pan and known weights are placed in the other until the beam returns to the horizontalSee also microbalance
  2. an imagined device for assessing events, actions, motives, etc, in relation to each other (esp in the phrases weigh in the balance, hang in the balance)
  3. a state of equilibrium
  4. something that brings about such a state
  5. equilibrium of the body; steadinessto lose one's balance
  6. emotional stability; calmness of mind
  7. harmony in the parts of a wholebalance in an artistic composition
  8. the act of weighing factors, quantities, etc, against each other
  9. the power to influence or controlhe held the balance of power
  10. something that remains or is leftlet me have the balance of what you owe me
  11. accounting
    1. equality of debit and credit totals in an account
    2. a difference between such totals
  12. chem the state of a chemical equation in which the number, kind, electrical charges, etc, of the atoms on opposite sides are equal
  13. a balancing movement
  14. short for spring balance
  15. in the balance in an uncertain or undecided condition
  16. on balance after weighing up all the factors
  17. strike a balance to make a compromise
  1. (tr) to weigh in or as if in a balance
  2. (intr) to be or come into equilibrium
  3. (tr) to bring into or hold in equilibrium
  4. (tr) to assess or compare the relative weight, importance, etc, of
  5. (tr) to act so as to equalize; be equal to
  6. (tr) to compose or arrange so as to create a state of harmony
  7. (tr) to bring (a chemical or mathematical equation) into balance
  8. (tr) accounting
    1. to compute the credit and debit totals of (an account) in order to determine the difference
    2. to equalize the credit and debit totals of (an account) by making certain entries
    3. to settle or adjust (an account) by paying any money due
  9. (intr) (of a business account, balance sheet, etc) to have the debit and credit totals equal
  10. to match or counter (one's dancing partner or his or her steps) by moving towards and away from him or her
Derived Formsbalanceable, adjective

Word Origin for balance

C13: from Old French, from Vulgar Latin bilancia (unattested), from Late Latin bilanx having two scalepans, from bi- 1 + lanx scale


  1. the Balance the constellation Libra, the seventh sign of the zodiac
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for balancé



early 13c., "apparatus for weighing," from Old French balance (12c.) "balance, scales for weighing," also in the figurative sense; from Medieval Latin bilancia, from Late Latin bilanx, from Latin (libra) bilanx "(scale) having two pans," possibly from Latin bis "twice" + lanx "dish, plate, scale of a balance." The accounting sense is from 1580s; the meaning "general harmony between parts" is from 1732; sense of "physical equipoise" is from 1660s. Balance of power in the geopolitical sense is from 1701. Many figurative uses are from Middle English image of the scales in the hands of personified Justice, Fortune, Fate, etc.; e.g. hang in the balance (late 14c.).



1570s, "be equal with," from balance (n.). Meaning "bring or keep in equilibrium" is from 1630s; that of "keep oneself in equilibrium" is from 1833. Of accounts, from 1580s. Related: Balanced; balancing. Balanced meal, diet, etc. is from 1908.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

balancé in Medicine


  1. 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.
  2. A state of bodily equilibrium.
  3. The difference in magnitude between opposing forces or influences, such as for bodily parts or organs.
  4. Equality of mass and net electric charge of reacting species on each side of a chemical equation.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

balancé in Science


  1. To adjust a chemical equation so that the number of each type of atom and the total charge on the reactant (left-hand) side of the equation matches the number and charge on the product (right-hand) side of the equation.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with balancé


In addition to the idiom beginning with balance

  • balance the books

also see:

  • checks and balances
  • hang in the balance
  • off balance
  • on balance
  • redress the balance
  • strike a balance
  • tip the balance
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.