- Also called ballast resistor . a device, often a resistor, that maintains the current in a circuit at a constant value by varying its resistance in order to counteract changes in voltage.
- a device that maintains the current through a fluorescent or mercury lamp at the desired constant value, sometimes also providing the necessary starting voltage and current.
verb (used with object)
LEARN THE SPANISH WORDS FOR THESE COMMON ANIMALS!
Idioms for ballast
Origin of ballast
OTHER WORDS FROM ballast
Words nearby ballast
BASIC DEFINITION OF BALLAST
What does ballast mean?
In general, ballast means something that provides stability or weight.
In a specific sense, it’s most commonly used to refer to heavy material used to stabilize a vessel, such as a ship, especially when it’s not carrying cargo. It also refers to the crushed rock used for the foundation of railroad tracks and paved roads. In electronics, ballast refers to a device that maintains the current in a circuit.
Ballast can also be used as a verb meaning to provide a ship with a material for ballast. In a more general sense, it can mean to keep steady or give stability to, including in a metaphorical way. Ballast can also be used metaphorically as a noun, especially in the context of mental, emotional, political, or economic stability.
Example: The ship’s ballast was improperly secured and caused the ship to list in the water.
Where does ballast come from?
The first records of ballast come from the 1400s. It comes from Middle Low German and is related to the Old Swedish word barlast, which literally means “bare load.”
When a ship is fully loaded with cargo, the weight of the cargo helps the ship to be stable in the water. Without cargo, it needs ballast. This can take many forms, such as stones or lead. (Sometimes, ballast is a permanent feature of a ship, such as a ballast tank that holds water.) In smaller vessels, the crew members themselves might suffice as ballast (called live ballast). Ballast is not limited to ships. In hot air balloons, those bags of sand attached to the car (the basket) are ballast.
Have you ever noticed the layer of stones under railroad tracks? They’re there for ballast, to provide the foundation for the track (gravel or crushed rock is also used as ballast in the base layer of a paved road). In a railroad track, the stone ballast helps with drainage and prevents plants from growing inside the tracks, too.
Ballast can also be used in a figurative way to refer to something that provides balance or stability in life or a specific situation, as in It helps to have a hobby to act as ballast during stressful times.
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What are some other forms related to ballast?
- ballaster (noun)
- ballastic (adjective)
- overballast (verb)
- subballast (noun)
What are some synonyms for ballast?
What are some words that share a root or word element with ballast?
What are some words that often get used in discussing ballast?
How is ballast used in real life?
You’ll most often see ballast used in the context of ships and other vessels. Unless it’s used metaphorically, it’s typically discussed in a technical way.
Officer's mess, cargo hold, and ballast. The ship was literally loaded with stones to stabilize it in the water. pic.twitter.com/R5QgGZLscT
— Andrew Rader (@marsrader) August 30, 2019
#DYK shipping vessels can carry aquatic #InvasiveSpecies? ⛵❌ Find out from our research scientist, Dr. Sarah Bailey, how ballast water is one of the top pathways for the spread of aquatic invasive species. Learn more: https://t.co/pp69B5XqOm #InvSpWk pic.twitter.com/SlflDd1zkL
— Fisheries and Oceans (@FishOceansCAN) February 24, 2020
Last weekend, we had cranes in the station laying panels of new track and we also had a big delivery of ballast! 🏗️ 🚉
Thank you for your patience whilst we continue to transform the East Coast Main Line.
— London King's Cross (@NetworkRailKGX) February 18, 2020
Try using ballast!
Is ballast used correctly in the following sentence?
The ballast keeps the hot air balloon stable so it can be better controlled while in the air.
Example sentences from the Web for ballast
But are the ballast masses, so critical for the Apollo entry guidance to work properly, really gone as they should be?Curiosity’s Mars Landing Narrated Moment by Moment by Flight Director Keith Comeaux|Keith Comeaux|August 7, 2012|DAILY BEAST
It had no other ballast than himself, his wife and children, and the Christmas fare.The Visionary|Jonas Lie
After passing a week at Gibraltar, to take in some dollars, we sailed for New Orleans, in ballast.Ned Myers|James Fenimore Cooper
They got into the car, and the bags of ballast were tossed overboard.Frank Merriwell's Bravery|Burt L. Standish
The prisoners were handcuffed, or chained together, and placed in the hold, on the ballast.On the Spanish Main|John Masefield
Poverty and responsibility had given him ballast, and love for his own little brood had softened his heart and vitalized his soul.Little Journeys To The Homes Of Great Teachers|Elbert Hubbard