1. having little or no hair on the scalp: a bald head; a bald person.
  2. destitute of some natural growth or covering: a bald mountain.
  3. lacking detail; bare; plain; unadorned: a bald prose style.
  4. open; undisguised: a bald lie.
  5. Zoology. having white on the head: the bald eagle.
  6. Automotive. (of a tire) having the tread completely worn away.
verb (used without object)
  1. to become bald.
  1. (often initial capital letter) Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S. a treeless mountaintop or area near the top: often used as part of a proper name.

Origin of bald

1250–1300; Middle English ball(e)d, equivalent to ball white spot (compare Welsh bal, Greek phaliós having a white spot) + -ed -ed3
Related formsbald·ish, adjectivebald·ly, adverbbald·ness, nounhalf-bald, adjectivesem·i·bald, adjectivesem·i·bald·ly, adverbsem·i·bald·ness, noun
Can be confusedbald balled bawled

Synonyms for bald Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for balding

Contemporary Examples of balding

Historical Examples of balding

  • Harding shook his heavy, balding head, staring at the floor.

    Shock Absorber

    E.G. von Wald

  • Auguste gently pressed his hand against his father's balding brow.


    Robert Shea

  • Instead, he was about forty, balding, with a little pot-belly and thinning hair.


    Cory Doctorow

  • Major Chapelle was a thickset, balding man in his late forties.

  • Bennet Fayon, the biologist and physiologist, plump, pink-faced and balding.


    H. Beam Piper

British Dictionary definitions for balding


  1. somewhat bald or becoming bald


  1. having no hair or fur, esp (of a man) having no hair on all or most of the scalp
  2. lacking natural growth or covering
  3. plain or blunta bald statement
  4. bare or simple; unadorned
  5. Also: baldfaced (of certain birds and other animals) having white markings on the head and face
  6. (of a tyre) having a worn tread
Derived Formsbaldish, adjectivebaldly, adverbbaldness, noun

Word Origin for bald

C14 ballede (literally: having a white spot); related to Danish bǣldet, Greek phalaros having a white spot
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 balding



c.1300, ballede, probably, with Middle English -ede adjectival suffix + Celtic bal "white patch, blaze" especially on the head of a horse or other animal (from PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, gleam;" see bleach (v.)). Cf., from the same root, Sanskrit bhalam "brightness, forehead," Greek phalos "white," Latin fulcia "coot" (so called for the white patch on its head), Albanian bale "forehead." But connection with ball (n.1), on notion of "smooth, round" also has been suggested. Bald eagle first attested 1680s; so called for its white head.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

balding in Medicine


  1. Lacking hair on the head.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.