Definition of balance in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbaləns/


1An even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady: slipping in the mud but keeping their balance she lost her balance before falling
More example sentences
  • Judo, I have been told, is all about exploiting subtle changes in balance and weight distribution.
  • The vertical semi-circular canals of the human ear are very large (unlike those of apes), to enable upright balance.
  • If your bridge elbow is locked, this is a sure sign of of poor balance and weight distribution.
stability, equilibrium, steadiness, footing
1.1Stability of one’s mind or feelings: the way to some kind of peace and personal balance
More example sentences
  • Religious certitude, for many fundamentalists, is the portal to cognitive balance and emotional stability.
  • When your emotional balance stabilizes, you may think differently.
  • With the sudden highs and disturbing lows, especially in the fragile lives of young celebs, mental peace and balance is hard to maintain.
Image of balance
1.2 Sailing The ability of a boat to stay on course without adjustment of the rudder.
Example sentences
  • Being careful about the boat's balance, she stepped into the white base of the small craft and knelt in the slightly indented hold.
  • Every boat needs balance and this four has found it, despite the last-minute changes and despite the doubt.
  • Right when we crest, that is the point we let off the throttle to lessen the impact and maintain control of the balance and pivot point.
2A condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions: overseas investments can add balance to an investment portfolio [in singular]: try to keep a balance between work and relaxation
More example sentences
  • What is the correct balance between avoiding discriminatory employment practices and giving good customer service and applying good old common sense?
  • Reasonable and accurate perceptions, therefore, are key to striking the correct balance between work and procrastination.
  • The strategic issue for a country's leadership is to decide what is the correct balance between guns and butter.
fairness, justice, impartiality, evenhandedness, egalitarianism, equal opportunity;
parity, equity, equilibrium, equipoise, evenness, symmetry, correspondence, uniformity, equality, equivalence, comparability
2.1 Art Harmony of design and proportion.
Example sentences
  • Myers has created a place where opposites meet and strike a natural, harmonious balance.
  • Raphael absorbed the classical qualities of harmony, clarity and balance which were always after associated with him.
  • This portrait visualized the sense of order and balance, by the organization of line, expression of the figure and his gesture.
2.2 [in singular] The relative volume of various sources of sound: the balance of the voices is good
More example sentences
  • The Nighthawk uses touchpad controls for power, volume and sound balance.
  • It was taped at the Royal Festival Hall on the 18th of September 1983 in immaculate sound and balance.
  • Many portions of Tchaikovsky's Fourth benefit from a lighter sound and more balance among sections.
3An apparatus for weighing, especially one with a central pivot, beam, and a pair of scales.
Example sentences
  • The atomic weight of an element - the quantity chemists could weigh with scales and balances - depends on the number of protons and neutrons, which have virtually equal masses.
  • In 1669 he invented the Roberval balance which is now almost universally used for weighing scales of the balance type.
  • By application of substitution weighing some systematic errors of the beam balance are omitted.
scale(s), weighing machine
3.1 (the Balance) The zodiacal sign or constellation Libra.
4A counteracting weight or force.
Example sentences
  • Allow centrifugal force to provide balance while both skates tip onto their left edges in the turn.
  • Disparate methods for defining force and torque balances and for calculating the mass balance of receptors therefore result.
  • The three-way balance between centrifugal force, Coriolos force, and the pressure-gradient force is called the gradient flow.
counterbalance, counterweight, stabilizer, compensation
4.1 (also balance wheel) The regulating device in a mechanical clock or watch.
Example sentences
  • Your clock has a floating balance mechanism.
  • In particular he queries the statement made by Einstein in his famous paper of [I905], that "a balance-clock at the equator must go more slowly.
  • Here he still positions his hammer on the right as in a balance wheel clock in order to allow separate winding of each train.
5A predominating weight or amount; the majority: the balance of opinion was that work was more important than leisure
More example sentences
  • The balance of economists are expecting a hike next month rather than this, but any rise could start to hit consumer spending and any slowdown in the mortgage market will hurt banks.
  • The balance of rational decision-making seems to point against the link.
  • The balance of trust and the preponderance of suspicion were all skewed in Taunton today.
6A figure representing the difference between credits and debits in an account; the amount of money held in an account: he accumulated a healthy balance with the savings bank
More example sentences
  • It therefore set off without notice the credit balance in the current account against the sum due under the loan account.
  • The credit balance in your current account offsets your mortgage debt, reducing your interest bill even more.
  • This reflects the myth that the trust funds' balances represent an asset.
6.1The difference between an amount due and an amount paid: unpaid credit-card balances
More example sentences
  • That means that your payments won't touch the new charges until your original balance transfer has been paid off.
  • You must pay this fee even if you pay off your balance when your credit card bill arrives.
  • I juggled five credit cards in college and always paid the entire balance on time each month.
remainder, outstanding amount, rest, residue, difference, remaining part
6.2 [in singular] An amount left over.
Example sentences
  • To get days off, he continually dips his hands into his quickly dwindling leave balance.
  • Sitting at the end of the longest of three piers, our feet dangling off the edge, we spent the balance of the hour watching it arrive.
  • Any squad member violating this rule will be dismissed from his or her respective squad for the balance of that particular season.


[with object]
1Keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall: a mug that she balanced on her knee
More example sentences
  • It was balanced on top of a piece of wood, supported by 2 beer crates stacked one on the other and in between each song, he would have to reposition it because it was vibrating so much from the sound that it kept creeping towards the edge.
  • It is hard not to gasp at the speed of the ascent and my admiration is more marked, and more edgy, because I know that the whole structure is balanced on a bearing the size of a small, round coffee table, like a pencil poised on the tip of its lead.
  • The Lartique system comprises only a single rail - the carriages are balanced on either side so the operator has to be careful that it wasn't top heavy on one side.
steady, stabilize, poise, level
1.1 [no object] Remain in a steady position without falling: Richard balanced on the ball of one foot
More example sentences
  • She raised her right hand to her forehead, leaving the left to help her remain balanced on her feet.
  • Its best to keep making adjustments to remain centered and balanced on all levels of consciousness, that is, the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
  • Now sit balanced on a Swiss ball with your legs extended and toes pointed.
2Offset or compare the value of (one thing) with another: the cost of obtaining such information needs to be balanced against its benefits
More example sentences
  • It was a case that cuts to the heart of rural life, in which a woman's shock and horror at seeing her beloved pet shot dead in front of her and virtually on her own doorstep was balanced against a farmer's right to protect his livestock.
  • ‘The fears of a US retaliation affecting Middle East oil producers is balanced against worries about recession,’ he said.
  • It should be noted that broad meritocracy might be upheld either as a complete view of social justice or as one justice value to be balanced against others.
weigh, weigh up, compare, evaluate, consider, assess, appraise, judge
2.1Counteract, equal, or neutralize the weight or importance of: he balanced his radical remarks with more familiar declarations
More example sentences
  • Hadi emphasized the importance of balancing the outdoor and indoor lights to create a comfortable lighting for the eyes.
  • Any proposed increase had to be balanced with the limiting effect of the ability of the poor to pay for the goods, and the likelihood of rioting if the impost was seen as too onerous.
  • You are challenged to understand the importance of balancing the five balls.
counterbalance, balance out, offset, even out/up, counteract, compensate for, make up for
2.2Establish equal or appropriate proportions of elements in: balancing work and family life
More example sentences
  • The process of ensuring a weapon system is fully supportable includes appropriately addressing, integrating, and balancing each of these elements.
  • Feng shui is the art of aligning complementary opposites to coexist, balancing the five elements of water, wood, fire, earth and metal.
  • It balances all of these elements perfectly, and leaves you wanting more.
3Compare debits and credits in (an account), typically to ensure that they are equal: the law requires the council to balance its books each year
More example sentences
  • But the costs of benchmarking will make it almost impossible to balance the national accounts if the economy fails to return to the boom times.
  • When the Spanish speakers pick up the pace and the volume, it's an auditory cue to stop reading your newspaper, balancing your checking account or writing your article.
  • I'll give up my Palm Pilot once pen and paper can do all the math for balancing my checking account on its own.
3.1 [no object] (Of an account) have credits and debits equal.
Example sentences
  • The difference is that she handles the money, keeps the chequing account balanced and the bills paid.
  • Whatever the reason, a deficit will ensue if not enough money is entering the current account to balance out what is exiting.
  • Nevertheless, visual debits were more than balanced out by vocal credits.
correspond, agree, tally, match up, concur, coincide, be in agreement, be consistent, equate, be equal



balance of payments

The difference in total value between payments into and out of a country over a period.
Example sentences
  • The balance of payments only records the value of given goods bought and sold by an individual or a group of individuals.
  • The result was a deficit in the so-called balance of payments, which was paid for by foreigners cashing in those dollars for gold.
  • The idea of calculating the so-called national balance of payments in a free market economy will be absurd.

balance of power

1A situation in which nations of the world have roughly equal power.
Example sentences
  • As already noted, Soviet power was certainly an important element in the Cold War balance of power in East Asia.
  • For instance, policies of the balance of power might lead to assistance being given to regimes with bad human rights records.
  • This legislation changes the balance of power in corporate New Zealand.
2The power held by a small group when larger groups are of equal strength.
Example sentences
  • The great strength of this nation must be used to promote a balance of power that favors freedom.
  • The power structure, in particular the balance of power between the centre and the periphery was in constant need of repair.
  • Chelsea's win leaves them the only remaining bastion of power in the south as the balance of power again swings north.

balance of trade

The difference in value between a country’s imports and exports.
Example sentences
  • It is also in recognition of the importance of Namibia's fisheries sector in terms of GDP contribution, balance of trade and employment opportunities.
  • In theory, a declining dollar should help the U.S. balance of trade by making imports relatively more expensive to Americans and exports relatively inexpensive to foreigners.
  • Labor theories of value shifted concern from the balance of trade to the costs of labor and the cost of tax on the wage.

in the balance

Uncertain; at a critical stage: his survival hung in the balance for days
More example sentences
  • There is nothing in the article about that and again it is a legitimate criticism also to be put in the balance.
  • He warned that the future of the unit now hung in the balance unless it got the go-ahead from the department.
  • The warm weather of the last week has given way to colder conditions in the last two days putting the weekend prospects in the balance.
uncertain, undetermined, unsettled, unresolved, unsure, pending, in limbo, up in the air, at a turning point, critical, at a critical stage, at a crisis

on balance

With all things considered: but on balance he was pleased
More example sentences
  • What we must try to do is to judge the overall effect on balance.
  • Overall, on balance, did we get it as right as we knew how to do at the time?
  • I consider that, on balance, the plaintiff should bear the brunt of the costs of this litigation.
overall, all in all, all things considered, taking everything into consideration/account, by and large, on average

strike a balance

Choose a moderate course or compromise: she’s decided to strike a balance between fashionable and accessible
More example sentences
  • She has been choosing her theatre work very carefully, striking a balance between family and work time.
  • What he, in fact every one of us needs, is to strike a balance and stay on an even course.
  • A reasonable balance will have to be struck so that Costa staff are not overwhelmed and thereby unable to perform their necessary day to day work.



Pronunciation: /ˈbalənsər/
Example sentences
  • Professor Walt is notably abstract when he talks about the role of local power balancers.
  • The reason for this optimistic prognosis by the MRF, which for 11 years now has performed the role of balancer in the Parliament, is the results of this year's census.
  • It could seek global hegemony, engage selectively, or be an ‘offshore balancer.’


Middle English (sense 3 of the noun): from Old French balance (noun), balancer (verb), based on late Latin (libra) bilanx '(balance) having two scalepans', from bi- 'twice, having two' + lanx 'scalepan'.

  • The original sense of balance was for the sort of scales that statues of Justice are shown holding. The word is based on late Latin (libra) bilanx ‘(balance) with two scale-pans’, composed of bi- ‘twice’, ‘having two’ and lanx ‘scale-pan’.

Words that rhyme with balance

counterbalance, imbalance, outbalance, valance

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bal·ance

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