Definition of balloon in English:

balloon

Line breaks: bal|loon
Pronunciation: /bəˈluːn
 
/

noun

1A small coloured rubber bag which is inflated with air and then sealed at the neck, used as a child’s toy or a decoration: the room was festooned with balloons and streamers figurative his derision pricked the fragile balloon of her vanity
More example sentences
  • It is now colourfully decorated in balloons and streamers.
  • The gaily coloured banners and balloons decorating the streets give the impression of an impromptu homecoming party.
  • Other similarly coloured decorations included flowers, balloons, the cake and the reception at the Hanover International.
2 (also hot-air balloon) A large bag filled with hot air or gas to make it rise in the air, typically one carrying a basket for passengers: he set his sights on crossing the Pacific by balloon
More example sentences
  • Just as an object less dense than water rises to the surface, our balloon filled with hot air rises through the surrounding air.
  • The blast of red hot air filled the balloon, lifting them high into the air.
  • But all in all, I could understand hot-air balloon aviators' fascination with the sport.
Synonyms
3A rounded outline in which the words or thoughts of characters in a comic strip or cartoon are written: a balloon reading ‘Ka-Pow!’
More example sentences
  • When applicable, Robinson will overlap his word balloons.
  • You've mentioned the haiku-like or telegram-like quality of word balloons in comics.
  • They're confused as to whether one follows the panels across or down, in what order the word balloons are sequenced, and so forth.
4 (also balloon glass) A large rounded drinking glass, used especially for brandy: a balloon of armagnac
More example sentences
  • Once this concoction is ready, be careful to drink it in without any garnishing in a brandy balloon glass.
  • Isn't it nice when your guy opens the door for you and slides the Cabernet Sauvignon into your balloon glass?
  • On the table in front of him stood a balloon glass of great capacity filled with white wine.
5Scottish informal A stupid person.
More example sentences
  • "He's a pudding, he's a balloon and he's no good," he went on.
  • Destiny has no idea what she was thinking on this one but my roommate believes he's a balloon because he likes to get high.

verb

[no object] Back to top  
1Swell out in a spherical shape: the trousers ballooned out below his waist
More example sentences
  • It split down the middle to reveal a light lavender petticoat and the sleeves ballooned out, at the top, and cascaded down, past her hands, ending in a waterfall of silky material.
  • The necks of old port bottles, for example, usually have a slightly bulbous form, so that the lower part of the cylindrical cork is weakened where it ballooned out and became cone shaped.
  • I was about to breathe a sigh of relief when they ballooned out and started to parachute down in the middle of the courtyard.
Synonyms
1.1(Of an amount of money spent or owed) increase rapidly: the company’s debt has ballooned in the last five years
More example sentences
  • The amount has ballooned from millions to billions.
  • The country's capital stock ballooned to reach a level that the economy could not support.
  • Broad money supply has ballooned $943 billion during the past 52 weeks.
Synonyms
increase rapidly, soar, rocket, shoot up, escalate, mount, surge, spiral, grow rapidly, rise rapidly
1.2(Of a person) increase rapidly in weight: I ate out of boredom and I just ballooned up
More example sentences
  • She had ballooned up a good thirty pounds; her ankles were swollen and just carrying around her huge stomach made her ill.
  • I unwrapped the towels to discover my baby had ballooned up nicely.
  • She freely told Stevenson her figure had ballooned after she stopped taking a dietary supplement.
2British (With reference to a ball) lob or be lobbed high in the air: the ball ballooned into the air
More example sentences
  • Up stepped Beckham, but he slipped horribly at the vital moment of impact and the ball ballooned embarrassingly over the bar.
  • Yet all the guys around the bat were convinced, because of the way the ball ballooned rather than bounced up, that it had hit Lamby's boot.
  • Attempting a sweep, the ball ballooned off his left forearm but it was difficult to tell whether it brushed the glove on the way past.
3Travel by hot-air balloon: he is famous for ballooning across oceans
More example sentences
  • The shuttle launch gantry is equipped with seven 1,200-foot-long sliding wires, each attached to a basket similar to those used for hot-air ballooning.
  • He told me that the early morning is the ideal time for this sport as the air is very calm and so this is probably the best time to go hot air ballooning.
  • They can try horse riding, hot air ballooning, jet skiing, windsurfing and Bill and Aine can even get glammed up for a night in a casino.

Origin

late 16th century (originally denoting a game played with a large inflated leather ball): from French ballon or Italian ballone 'large ball'.

Phrases

when the balloon goes up

British informal When the action or trouble starts: we’ve got to get our man out of there before the balloon goes up
[probably with allusion to the release of a balloon to mark the start of an event]
More example sentences
  • If he wants to be certain of being absolutely on the ball when the balloon goes up - if it does - it's as well he gets a rest now.
  • They are demanding this, that and the other, but they won't lose out when the balloon goes up - they'll be living it up in Monte Carlo.
  • It will be hard to request more resources if and when the balloon goes up in a place like that.

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