ballad

[ bal-uh d ]
/ ˈbæl əd /

noun

any light, simple song, especially one of sentimental or romantic character, having two or more stanzas all sung to the same melody.
a simple narrative poem of folk origin, composed in short stanzas and adapted for singing.
any poem written in similar style.
the music for a ballad.
a sentimental or romantic popular song.

Origin of ballad

1350–1400; Middle English balade < Middle French < Old Provençal balada dance, dancing-song, equivalent to bal(ar) to dance (< Late Latin ballāre; see ball2) + -ada -ade1

Related forms

bal·lad·ic [buh-lad-ik] /bəˈlæd ɪk/, adjectivebal·lad·like, adjective

Can be confused

ballad ballet ballot
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ballad

British Dictionary definitions for ballad

ballad

/ (ˈbæləd) /

noun

a narrative song with a recurrent refrain
a narrative poem in short stanzas of popular origin, originally sung to a repeated tune
a slow sentimental song, esp a pop song

Word Origin for ballad

C15: from Old French balade, from Old Provençal balada song accompanying a dance, from balar to dance, from Late Latin ballāre; see ball ²
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

Culture definitions for ballad (1 of 2)

ballad


A simple narrative song, or a narrative poem suitable for singing. The ballad usually has a short stanza, such as:

There are twelve months in all the year,
As I hear many men say,
But the merriest month in all the year
Is the merry month of May.

Culture definitions for ballad (2 of 2)

ballad


A simple narrative song, or, alternatively, a narrative poem suitable for singing. (See under “Conventions of Written English.”)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.