• synonyms


See more synonyms for Balsas on Thesaurus.com
  1. Río, Río Balsas.
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[bawl-suh, bahl-]
  1. a tropical American tree, Ochroma pyramidale (lagopus), of the bombax family, yielding an exceedingly light wood used for life preservers, rafts, toy airplanes, etc.
  2. a raft made of balsa wood.
  3. any life raft.
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Origin of balsa

1770–80; < Spanish: boat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

barge, boat, lifeboat, float, pontoon, balsa, lighter

Examples from the Web for balsas

Historical Examples

  • The wider and smoother rivers were crossed on 'balsas,' or rafts with sails.

    The Red True Story Book


  • Their boats or balsas were looked upon as ingenious contrivances.

    Notable Voyagers

    W.H.G. Kingston and Henry Frith

  • The sun was as hot as upon the llanos along the river Balsas in Michoacan.

    On the Mexican Highlands

    William Seymour Edwards

  • It was market day, and the balsas were carrying the peasants homeward.

  • We built a fleet of balsas with reeds and blown-out sheepskins, and followed him.

British Dictionary definitions for balsas


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

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

Word Origin and History for balsas



South American tree, 1866, apparently from Spanish balsa "float," originally the name of rafts used on the Pacific coast of Latin America (1777). The wood is very light.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper