Definition of balm of Gilead in English:

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balm of Gilead

Pronunciation: /ˈɡɪlɪad/


1 [mass noun] A fragrant medicinal resin obtained from certain trees.
Example sentences
  • We've got Vietnamese coriander, for example, and balm of Gilead, which is not normally used in cooking but has a fantastic smell.
  • He holds it out in his hand to me as if he is offering the balm of Gilead or all the riches of Babylon or something precious and extravagant like that.
  • This balm of Gilead has a wonderful fragrance.
2A tree that yields balm of Gilead.
Example sentences
  • The air is full of birds, and sweet with the breath of the pine, the balm of Gilead, and the new hay.
  • The balm-of-Gilead tree, which has mostly escaped from cultivation, is found along roadsides or streams from Newfoundland to Minnesota and Georgia.
  • The Balm-of-Gilead has heart-shaped leaves with rounded, slightly hairy leaf stalks.


Early 16th century: balm from a translation in Coverdale's Bible (Gen. 37:25), rendered 'resin' in the Vulgate; Gilead from the assumption that this resin is the substance mentioned in the Bible as coming from Gilead.

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