View synonyms for balloon


[ buh-loon ]


  1. a bag made of thin rubber or other light material, usually brightly colored, inflated with air or with some lighter-than-air gas and used as a children's plaything or as a decoration.
  2. a bag made of a light material, as silk or plastic, filled with heated air or a gas lighter than air, designed to rise and float in the atmosphere and often having a car or gondola attached below for carrying passengers or scientific instruments.
  3. (in drawings, cartoons, etc.) a balloon-shaped outline enclosing words represented as issuing from the mouth of the speaker.
  4. an ornamental ball at the top of a pillar, pier, or the like.
  5. a large, globular wineglass.
  6. Chemistry Now Rare. a round-bottomed flask.

verb (used without object)

  1. to go up or ride in a balloon.
  2. to swell or puff out like a balloon.
  3. to multiply or increase at a rapid rate:

    Membership has ballooned beyond all expectations.

verb (used with object)

  1. to fill with air; inflate or distend (something) like a balloon.


  1. puffed out like a balloon:

    balloon sleeves.

  2. Finance. (of a loan, mortgage, or the like) having a payment at the end of the term that is much bigger than previous ones.


/ bəˈluːn /


  1. an inflatable rubber bag of various sizes, shapes, and colours: usually used as a plaything or party decoration
  2. a large impermeable bag inflated with a lighter-than-air gas, designed to rise and float in the atmosphere. It may have a basket or gondola for carrying passengers, etc See also barrage balloon hot-air balloon
  3. a circular or elliptical figure containing the words or thoughts of a character in a cartoon
    1. a kick or stroke that propels a ball high into the air
    2. ( as modifier )

      a balloon shot

  4. chem a round-bottomed flask
  5. a large rounded brandy glass
  6. commerce
    1. a large sum paid as an irregular instalment of a loan repayment
    2. ( as modifier )

      a balloon loan

  7. surgery
    1. an inflatable plastic tube used for dilating obstructed blood vessels or parts of the alimentary canal
    2. ( as modifier )

      balloon angioplasty

  8. go down like a lead balloon informal.
    to be completely unsuccessful or unpopular
  9. when the balloon goes up informal.
    when the trouble or action begins


  1. intr to go up or fly in a balloon
  2. intr to increase or expand significantly and rapidly

    losses ballooned to £278 million

  3. to inflate or be inflated; distend; swell

    the wind ballooned the sails

  4. tr to propel (a ball) high into the air

Discover More

Derived Forms

  • balˈlooning, noun
  • balˈloon-ˌlike, adjective
  • balˈloonist, noun

Discover More

Other Words From

  • bal·loonlike adjective

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of balloon1

1570–80; < Upper Italian ballone, equivalent to ball ( a ) (< Langobardic; ball 1 ) + -one augmentative suffix; or < Middle French ballon < Upper Italian

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of balloon1

C16 (in the sense: ball, ball game): from Italian dialect ballone , from balla , of Germanic origin; compare Old High German balla ball 1

Discover More

Idioms and Phrases

In addition to the idiom beginning with balloon , also see go over (like a lead balloon) ; trial balloon .

Discover More

Example Sentences

Yet the costs of law enforcement are ballooning and, according to City Council members, unsustainable.

Zhong isn’t the only one whose fortune has ballooned from Nongfu’s trading debut.

From Fortune

Perhaps this is why search interest in SEO itself, which was largely stagnant from mid-2017 to early this year, has ballooned.

In a brief moment of rapid expansion, that burst of energy inflated the cosmos like a balloon.

Future satellites or weather balloons could provide data on whether this has happened, says Pengfei Yu.

He was like an un-tied balloon that had been inflated and immediately released.

She had grown so perfect and gentle and consoling that it was unbearable, she was a big, round smooth balloon without a face.

The Great Texas Balloon Race on July 29th-August 4th feature daily races with some of the best balloon pilot talent in the game.

Manned, unmanned, a balloon, a kite—you still have to get the information into the hands of the firefighters.

This was a tethered reconnaissance balloon, as first used 220 years ago in the French Revolutionary War.

For, at that moment Squinty stood up on his hind legs, as the boy had taught him, and walked over toward the big balloon basket.

Squinty cuddled down in the basket of the balloon, between two bags full of something, and shivered.

There were a great many of them in the balloon, and Squinty thought they must have something good in them.

Mandy Ann had put on her best frock, a white one, stiff with starch, and standing out like a small balloon.

There was nothing left before him now but San Francisco or a balloon; heaven being out of the question.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




ballonnéballoon angioplasty