balsa

[ bawl-suh, bahl- ]
/ ˈbɔl sə, ˈbɑl- /

noun

a tropical American tree, Ochroma pyramidale (lagopus), of the bombax family, yielding an exceedingly light wood used for life preservers, rafts, toy airplanes, etc.
a raft made of balsa wood.
any life raft.

Origin of balsa

1770–80; < Spanish: boat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for balsa

balsa
/ (ˈbɔːlsə) /

noun

a bombacaceous tree, Ochroma lagopus, of tropical America
Also called: balsawood the very light wood of this tree, used for making rafts, etc
a light raft

Word Origin for balsa

C18: from Spanish: raft
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