[ bawl-suh m ]
/ ˈbɔl səm /


Origin of balsam

before 1000; Middle English balsamum, balsaum, Old English balzaman < Latin balsamum < Greek bálsamon. See balm


bal·sa·ma·ceous [bawl-suh-mey-shuh s] /ˌbɔl səˈmeɪ ʃəs/, adjectivebal·sam·ic [bawl-sam-ik] /bɔlˈsæm ɪk/, adjectivebal·sam·y, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for balsam

British Dictionary definitions for balsam

/ (ˈbɔːlsəm) /


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

Derived forms of balsam

balsamic (bɔːlˈsæmɪk), adjectivebalsamy, adjective

Word Origin for balsam

C15: from Latin balsamum, from Greek balsamon, from Hebrew bāśām spice
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

Scientific definitions for balsam

[ bôlsəm ]

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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.