[ bahm ]
/ bɑm /


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

1175–1225; Middle English basme, ba(u)me < Anglo-French basme, bal(s)me, ba(u)me; Old French < Latin balsamum balsam; with orthographic l pedantically restored

Related forms

balm·like, adjective

Can be confused

balm bomb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for balm

British Dictionary definitions for balm


/ (bɑːm) /


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

Derived Forms

balmlike, adjective

Word Origin for balm

C13: from Old French basme, from Latin balsamum balsam
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

Medicine definitions for balm


[ bäm ]


An aromatic salve or oil.
A soothing, healing, or comforting agent.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.