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ballon d'essai

[ba-lawn de-se]
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noun, plural bal·lons d'es·sai [ba-lawn de-se] /ba lɔ̃ dɛˈsɛ/. French.
  1. trial balloon.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for ballon d'essai

ballon d'essai

noun plural ballons d'essai (bæˈlõ dɛˈseɪ)
  1. a project or policy put forward experimentally to gauge reactions to itCompare trial balloon
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Word Origin

C19: from French, literally: trial balloon
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