- any of various oily, fragrant, resinous substances, often of medicinal value, exuding from certain plants, especially tropical trees of the genus Commiphora.
- a plant or tree yielding such a substance.
- any aromatic or fragrant ointment.
- aromatic fragrance; sweet odor: the balm of orange blossoms.
- any of various aromatic plants of the mint family, especially those of the genus Melissa, as M. officinalis (lemon balm), having ovate lemon-scented leaves used as a seasoning.
- anything that heals, soothes, or mitigates pain: the balm of friendship in troubled times.
Origin of balm
SynonymsSee more synonyms for balm on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for balm
Gwen Ifill of NewsHour called Dawkins “our balm and our rock” at his funeral.Six Months After Newtown, Gun Violence & Debate Continue
June 14, 2013
Luckily, however, de Botton is insightful enough that he manages to provide some balm for the anxieties of any paycheck slave.Loving the Daily Grind
June 4, 2009
Michelle Obama is a balm to dark-skinned and insecure Negro women.Michelle vs. the All-American Jackass
March 25, 2009
As usual, balm was on his lips, and I found encouragement and support.
I crave for the balm of Nature, the anodyne of solitude, the breath of Mother Earth.Ballads of a Bohemian
Robert W. Service
I have no call for that: and that has no balm for the wounds of my mind.Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)
If Godwin had pricked men's consciences, Malthus brought the balm.Shelley, Godwin and Their Circle
H. N. Brailsford
And of a truth, work is the balm of the sore mind of the world.The Book of Khalid
- any of various oily aromatic resinous substances obtained from certain tropical trees and used for healing and soothingSee also balsam (def. 1)
- any plant yielding such a substance, esp the balm of Gilead
- something comforting or soothingsoft music is a balm
- any aromatic or oily substance used for healing or soothing
- Also called: lemon balm an aromatic Eurasian herbaceous plant, Melissa officinalis, having clusters of small fragrant white two-lipped flowers: family Lamiaceae (labiates)
- a pleasant odour
Word Origin and History for balm
early 13c., basme, aromatic substance made from resins and oils, from Old French basme (Modern French baume), from Latin balsamum, from Greek balsamon "balsam," from Hebrew basam "spice," related to Aramaic busma, Arabic basham "balsam, spice, perfume."
Spelling refashioned 15c.-16c. on Latin model. Sense of "healing or soothing influence" (1540s) is from aromatic preparations from balsam (see balsam). Biblical Balm of Gilead, however, began with Coverdale; the Hebrew word there is tsori, which was rendered in Septuagint and Vulgate as "resin" (Greek rhetine, Latin resina).
- An aromatic salve or oil.
- A soothing, healing, or comforting agent.