[ bal-uhns ]
See synonyms for: balancebalancedbalancing on

  1. a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.

  2. something used to produce equilibrium; counterpoise.

  1. mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.

  2. a state of bodily equilibrium:He lost his balance and fell down the stairs.

  3. an instrument for determining weight, typically by the equilibrium of a bar with a fulcrum at the center, from each end of which is suspended a scale or pan, one holding an object of known weight, and the other holding the object to be weighed.

  4. the remainder or rest: He carried what he could and left the balance for his brother to bring.

  5. the power or ability to decide an outcome by throwing one's strength, influence, support, or the like, to one side or the other.

  6. (in winemaking) the degree to which all the attributes of a wine are in harmony, with none either too prominent or deficient.

  7. Accounting.

    • equality between the totals of the two sides of an account.

    • the difference between the debit total and the credit total of an account.

    • unpaid difference represented by the excess of debits over credits.

  8. an adjustment of accounts.

  9. the act of balancing; comparison as to weight, amount, importance, etc.; estimate.

  10. preponderating weight: The balance of the blame is on your side.

  11. Fine Arts. composition or placement of elements of design, as figures, forms, or colors, in such a manner as to produce an aesthetically pleasing or harmoniously integrated whole.

  12. Dance. a balancing movement.

  13. Also called balance wheel. Horology. a wheel that oscillates against the tension of a hairspring to regulate the beats of a watch or clock.

  14. Balance, Astronomy, Astrology. the constellation or sign of Libra; Scales.

  15. Audio. (in a stereophonic sound system) the comparative loudness of two speakers, usually set by a control (balance control ) on the amplifier or receiver.

verb (used with object),bal·anced, bal·anc·ing.
  1. to bring to or hold in equilibrium; poise: to balance a book on one's head.

  2. to arrange, adjust, or proportion the parts of symmetrically.

  1. to be equal or proportionate to: I'm always happy when cash on hand balances expected expenses.One side of an equation must balance the other.

  2. Accounting.

    • to add up the two sides of (an account) and determine the difference.

    • to make the necessary entries in (an account) so that the sums of the two sides will be equal.

    • to settle by paying what remains due on an account; equalize or adjust.

  3. to weigh in a balance.

  4. to estimate the relative weight or importance of; compare: to balance all the probabilities of a situation.

  5. to serve as a counterpoise to; counterbalance; offset: The advantages more than balance the disadvantages.

  6. Dance. to move in rhythm to and from: to balance one's partner.

verb (used without object),bal·anced, bal·anc·ing.
  1. to have an equality or equivalence in weight, parts, etc.; be in equilibrium: The account doesn't balance.Do these scales balance?

  2. Accounting. to reckon or adjust accounts.

  1. to waver or hesitate: He would balance and temporize endlessly before reaching a decision.

  2. Dance. to move forward and backward or in opposite directions.

Idioms about balance

  1. in the balance, with the outcome in doubt or suspense: While the jury deliberated, his fate rested in the balance.

  2. on balance, considering all aspects: On balance, the new product is doing well.

Origin of balance

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English balaunce, from Anglo-French; Old French balance from Vulgar Latin balancia (unrecorded), variant of bilancia (unrecorded), equivalent to Late Latin bilanc- (stem of bilanx “with double scales,” from Latin bi- bi-1 + lanx “metal dish, pan of a pair of scales”) + -ia -ia

synonym study For balance

6. See remainder. 13. See symmetry.

Other words for balance

Other words from balance

  • bal·ance·a·ble, adjective

Words Nearby balance

Other definitions for balancé (2 of 2)

[ bal-uhn-sey; French ba-lahn-sey ]

noun,plural bal·an·cés [bal-uhn-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

First recorded in 1765–75; from French, noun use of past participle of balancer “to balance, swing, rock” Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use balance in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for balance (1 of 2)


/ (ˈbæləns) /

  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 horizontal: See 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)

  1. a state of equilibrium

  2. something that brings about such a state

  3. equilibrium of the body; steadiness: to lose one's balance

  4. emotional stability; calmness of mind

  5. harmony in the parts of a whole: balance in an artistic composition

  6. the act of weighing factors, quantities, etc, against each other

  7. the power to influence or control: he held the balance of power

  8. something that remains or is left: let me have the balance of what you owe me

  9. accounting

    • equality of debit and credit totals in an account

    • a difference between such totals

  10. chem the state of a chemical equation in which the number, kind, electrical charges, etc, of the atoms on opposite sides are equal

  11. a balancing movement

  12. short for spring balance

  13. in the balance in an uncertain or undecided condition

  14. on balance after weighing up all the factors

  15. 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

  1. (tr) to bring into or hold in equilibrium

  2. (tr) to assess or compare the relative weight, importance, etc, of

  3. (tr) to act so as to equalize; be equal to

  4. (tr) to compose or arrange so as to create a state of harmony

  5. (tr) to bring (a chemical or mathematical equation) into balance

  6. (tr) accounting

    • to compute the credit and debit totals of (an account) in order to determine the difference

    • to equalize the credit and debit totals of (an account) by making certain entries

    • to settle or adjust (an account) by paying any money due

  7. (intr) (of a business account, balance sheet, etc) to have the debit and credit totals equal

  8. to match or counter (one's dancing partner or his or her steps) by moving towards and away from him or her

Origin of balance

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

Derived forms of balance

  • balanceable, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for Balance (2 of 2)


/ (ˈbæləns) /

  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

Scientific definitions for balance


[ băləns ]

  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.

Other Idioms and Phrases with balance


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.