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balloon

[buh-loon]
noun
  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.
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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.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to fill with air; inflate or distend (something) like a balloon.
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adjective
  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.
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Origin of balloon

1570–80; < Upper Italian ballone, equivalent to ball(a) (< Langobardic; see ball1) + -one augmentative suffix; or < Middle French ballon < Upper Italian
Related formsbal·loon·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for balloons

blimp, swell, inflate, enlarge, expand, dirigible, bladder, airship, zeppelin, distend, bulge, belly, dilate

Examples from the Web for balloons

Contemporary Examples of balloons

Historical Examples of balloons

  • The mass of the French people did not regard these balloons with Franklin's serenity.

    The Age of Invention

    Holland Thompson

  • The balloons were strained, contorted out of all proportion in their eagerness.

    Life Sentence

    James McConnell

  • Besides, if there were a roof over it, how could the balloons go up?

    Rollo in Paris

    Jacob Abbott

  • There were balloons everywhere, as the crowd shoved and pushed into the line of march.

    Pagan Passions

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • She had been in balloons, but she had never seen an unrestricted tiger.


British Dictionary definitions for balloons

balloon

noun
  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, etcSee also barrage balloon, hot-air balloon
  3. a circular or elliptical figure containing the words or thoughts of a character in a cartoon
  4. British
    1. a kick or stroke that propels a ball high into the air
    2. (as modifier)a balloon shot
  5. chem a round-bottomed flask
  6. a large rounded brandy glass
  7. commerce
    1. a large sum paid as an irregular instalment of a loan repayment
    2. (as modifier)a balloon loan
  8. surgery
    1. an inflatable plastic tube used for dilating obstructed blood vessels or parts of the alimentary canal
    2. (as modifier)balloon angioplasty
  9. go down like a lead balloon informal to be completely unsuccessful or unpopular
  10. when the balloon goes up informal when the trouble or action begins
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verb
  1. (intr) to go up or fly in a balloon
  2. (intr) to increase or expand significantly and rapidlylosses ballooned to £278 million
  3. to inflate or be inflated; distend; swellthe wind ballooned the sails
  4. (tr) British to propel (a ball) high into the air
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Derived Formsballooning, nounballoonist, nounballoon-like, adjective

Word Origin for balloon

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

Word Origin and History for balloons

balloon

n.

1570s, "a game played with a large inflated leather ball," from Italian pallone "large ball," from palla "ball," from a Germanic source akin to Langobardic palla (from Proto-Germanic *ball-, from PIE *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell;" see bole) + -one, suffix indicating great size.

Perhaps also borrowed in part from French ballon (16c.), altered (after balle) from Italian pallone. It also meant the ball itself (1590s), which was batted back and forth by means of large wooden paddles strapped to the forearms. In 17c., it also meant "a type of fireworks housed in a pasteboard ball" (1630s) and "round ball used as an architectural ornament" (1650s). Acquired modern meaning after Montgolfier brothers' flights, 1783. As a child's toy, it is attested from 1848; as "outline containing words in a comic engraving" it dates from 1844. Also cf. -oon.

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balloon

v.

"to go up in a balloon," 1792; "to swell, puff up," 1841, from balloon (n.). Related: Ballooned; ballooning.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

balloons in Medicine

balloon

(bə-lōōn)
n.
  1. An inflatable spherical device that is inserted into a body cavity or structure and distended with air or gas for therapeutic purposes.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with balloons

balloon

In addition to the idiom beginning with balloon

  • balloon goes up, the

also see:

  • go over (like a lead balloon)
  • trial balloon
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.