Definition of balsa in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbôlsə/


1 (also balsa wood) A very lightweight wood used in particular for making models and rafts.
Example sentences
  • Aero modellers use balsa wood to fashion their models.
  • Here at the launch site they were just a few dozen engineers and laborers in the deep wilderness, every blessed thing brought in piece by piece on balsa wood rafts.
  • Iconic monster Godzilla has smashed up his last balsa wood model of Tokyo after the Japanese studio behind the films decided to end the long-running franchise.
2The fast-growing tropical American tree from which this wood is obtained.
  • Ochroma lagopus (or pyramidale) , family Bombacaceae.
Example sentences
  • We hiked up Vermont Valley with a guide, Ellroy, to look for indigenous wild St. Vincent parrots, through thick rain forest of figs, palms, balsa and incongruous pine trees.
  • The only trees that are in danger are the hardwoods, such as balsa and African Blackwood, as these take far longer to grow than trees used for paper production.
  • The company claims the tree is a genetically engineered plant that combines the best qualities of balsa, bamboo, and aspen, but the USDA has never heard of such a Frankenwood.


Early 17th century (denoting a kind of South American raft or fishing boat): from Spanish, 'raft'.

  • A balsa was originally a kind of South American raft or fishing boat and is an adoption of this Spanish word for ‘raft’. Because it was used for rafts the word was transferred to the lightweight wood from a tropical American tree.

Words that rhyme with balsa


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bal·sa

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