- equality between the totals of the two sides of an account.
- the difference between the debit total and the credit total of an account.
- unpaid difference represented by the excess of debits over credits.
verb (used with object), bal·anced, bal·anc·ing.
- to add up the two sides of (an account) and determine the difference.
- to make the necessary entries in (an account) so that the sums of the two sides will be equal.
- to settle by paying what remains due on an account; equalize or adjust.
verb (used without object), bal·anced, bal·anc·ing.
Origin of balance
Synonyms for balance
- equality of debit and credit totals in an account
- a difference between such totals
- to compute the credit and debit totals of (an account) in order to determine the difference
- to equalize the credit and debit totals of (an account) by making certain entries
- to settle or adjust (an account) by paying any money due
Word Origin for balance
early 13c., "apparatus for weighing," from Old French balance (12c.) "balance, scales for weighing," also in the figurative sense; from Medieval Latin bilancia, from Late Latin bilanx, from Latin (libra) bilanx "(scale) having two pans," possibly from Latin bis "twice" + lanx "dish, plate, scale of a balance." The accounting sense is from 1580s; the meaning "general harmony between parts" is from 1732; sense of "physical equipoise" is from 1660s. Balance of power in the geopolitical sense is from 1701. Many figurative uses are from Middle English image of the scales in the hands of personified Justice, Fortune, Fate, etc.; e.g. hang in the balance (late 14c.).
1570s, "be equal with," from balance (n.). Meaning "bring or keep in equilibrium" is from 1630s; that of "keep oneself in equilibrium" is from 1833. Of accounts, from 1580s. Related: Balanced; balancing. Balanced meal, diet, etc. is from 1908.
Taking everything into consideration, as in On balance I think we've had a very good year. This expression, which in effect means “balancing all the factors involved,” was first recorded in 1719.
In addition to the idiom beginning with balance
- balance the books
- checks and balances
- hang in the balance
- off balance
- on balance
- redress the balance
- strike a balance
- tip the balance