[ bal-uhst ]
/ ˈbæl əst /
Nautical. any heavy material carried temporarily or permanently in a vessel to provide desired draft and stability.
Aeronautics. something heavy, as bags of sand, placed in the car of a balloon for control of altitude and, less often, of attitude, or placed in an aircraft to control the position of the center of gravity.
anything that gives mental, moral, or political stability or steadiness: the ballast of a steady income.
gravel, broken stone, slag, etc., placed between and under the ties of a railroad to give stability, provide drainage, and distribute loads.
- 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)
to furnish with ballast: to ballast a ship.
to give steadiness to; keep steady: parental responsibilities that ballast a person.
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Idioms for ballast
in ballast, Nautical. carrying only ballast; carrying no cargo.
Origin of ballast
OTHER WORDS FROM ballast
bal·last·er, nounbal·last·ic [buh-las-tik], /bəˈlæs tɪk/, adjectiveo·ver·bal·last, verb (used with object)sub·bal·last, noun
un·der·bal·last, verb (used with object)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021
British Dictionary definitions for ballast
/ (ˈbæləst) /
any dense heavy material, such as lead or iron pigs, used to stabilize a vessel, esp one that is not carrying cargo
crushed rock, broken stone, etc, used for the foundation of a road or railway track
coarse aggregate of sandy gravel, used in making concrete
anything that provides stability or weight
electronics a device for maintaining the current in a circuit
to give stability or weight to
Word Origin for ballast
C16: probably from Low German; related to Old Danish, Old Swedish barlast, literally: bare load (without commercial value), from bar bare, mere + last load, burden
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