Share this entry

balm Line breaks: balm

Definition of balm in English:


1A fragrant cream or liquid used to heal or soothe the skin: a skin balm for use after shaving
More example sentences
  • Body washes, shampoos, liquid talc, massaging balms and skin lotions are all priced at £3.99.
  • With modern grooming products, battery-powered razors, and shaving balms to smooth the skin, there's probably no excuse for a man to have any facial hair.
  • An extension to her practice is the line of lotions, gels, creams, balms and lip glosses.
1.1Something that has a soothing or restorative effect: the murmur of the water can provide balm for troubled spirits
More example sentences
  • Indeed, an evenly divided Congress could provide the healing balm the country desperately needs.
  • They come for the balm that touch can provide in times that are immensely stressful to the human psyche.
  • It also reminds in the quietest way how families can provide a balm against this worry.
2A tree which yields a fragrant resinous substance, especially one used in medicine.
  • Species in several families, in particular those of the genus Commiphora (family Burseraceae).
Example sentences
  • A typical nest thus pointed out by an over-obliging bird was saddled neatly on a horizontal limb of a balm tree at the height of about 30 feet from the ground and the ever-present lake.
  • The balm tree is no longer found in Judea.
  • Now this did not one jot move the orange till she saw a man at work with an incision-knife, upon a balm-tree there at hand, to let out the balsam.
2.1 [mass noun] The resinous substance yielded by a balm.
Example sentences
  • The balm exuded by this shrub led to it being regarded throughout part of its native range (especially in Spain, Italy, & Greece) as one & the same with the biblical Balm of Gilead.
3 (also lemon or sweet balm) [mass noun] A bushy herb of the mint family, with leaves smelling and tasting of lemon.
  • Melissa officinalis, family Labiatae
Example sentences
  • Growing my own fresh herbs saves me easily $35-50 per year… I grow my own oregano, basil, lemon balm, lemon thyme, chives, sage, and cilantro.
  • The consensus is that they tend to avoid aromatic herbs including garlic, onions, chives, rosemary, lavender, lemon balm, mint, tansy, lovage, marjoram, thyme, sage and fennel.
  • My favorite herbs to grow are basil, oregano, lemon balm, parsley and mint.
3.1Used in names of other aromatic herbs of the mint family, e.g. bee balm.
Example sentences
  • I almost passed over her, cloaked in an old brown robe and deep in conversation with a toothless old peasant woman selling various herbs and balms.
  • The apothecary, Harold, was robbed of some herbs and balms, as I am sure you know.
  • I purchased my bee balm from flea and farmer's markets.


Middle English (in the sense 'preparation for embalming, fragrant resinous substance'): from Old French basme, from Latin balsamum (see balsam).

Words that rhyme with balm

alarm, arm, Bairam, barm, becalm, calm, charm, embalm, farm, forearm, Guam, harm, imam, ma'am, malm, Montcalm, Notre-Dame, palm, psalm, qualm, salaam, smarm

Definition of balm in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fɔːˈtɪsɪməʊ
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly