- any of various fragrant exudations from certain trees, especially trees of the genus Commiphora, as balm-of-Gilead.Compare balm(def 1).
- the similar products yielded by the leguminous trees Myroxylon pereirae and M. balsamum, of South America.Compare Peru balsam, tolu.
- oleoresin(def 1).
- any of certain transparent turpentines, as Canada balsam.
- a plant or tree yielding a balsam.
- balsam fir.
- any of several plants belonging to the genus Impatiens, as I. balsamina, a common garden annual.Compare balsam family.
- any aromatic ointment for ceremonial or medicinal use.
- any agency that heals, soothes, or restores: the balsam of understanding and appreciation.
Origin of balsam
Examples from the Web for balsam
On the way down he identifies trees by which needles are best to sleep on: Balsam fir is good.Pete Dexter’s Indelible Portrait of Author Norman Maclean
March 23, 2014
Here is a piece of gum benzoin, the substance from which Friar's balsam is made.
It is found on dead pine, spruce, balsam, and other conifers.The Mushroom, Edible and Otherwise
M. E. Hard
When the heart is sick and sorest, There is balsam in the forest–– There is balsam in the forestFor its pain.Irish Fairy Tales
As straight as a pine, as sweet as a balsam, as sound as a white oak.St. Cuthbert's
Robert E. Knowles
A balsam in Gaelic tales, in which a “Vessel of Balsam” often occurs.Russian Fairy Tales
W. R. S. Ralston
- any of various fragrant oleoresins, such as balm or tolu, obtained from any of several trees and shrubs and used as a base for medicines and perfumes
- any of various similar substances used as medicinal or ceremonial ointments
- any of certain aromatic resinous turpentinesSee also Canada balsam
- any plant yielding balsam
- Also called: busy Lizzie any of several balsaminaceous plants of the genus Impatiens, esp I. balsamina, cultivated for its brightly coloured flowers
- anything healing or soothing
Word Origin and History for balsam
1570s, "aromatic resin used for healing wounds and soothing pains," from Latin balsamum "gum of the balsam tree" (see balm). There is an isolated Old English reference from c.1000, and Middle English used basme, baume, from the French form of the word. As a type of flowering plant of the Impatiens family, it is attested from 1741.
- Any of several aromatic resins that flow from certain plants and that contain considerable amounts of benzoic acid, cinnamic acid, or both, or their esters. Balsams are used in perfumes and medicines.