definition of balance by The Free Dictionary






1. A weighing device, especially one consisting of a rigid beam horizontally suspended by a low-friction support at its center, with identical weighing pans hung at either end, one of which holds an unknown weight while the effective weight in the other is increased by known amounts until the beam is level and motionless. Also called scale.

2. A state of equilibrium or parity characterized by cancellation of all forces by equal opposing forces.

3. The power or means to decide: matters that fell outside the judge’s balance.


a. A state of bodily equilibrium: thrown off balance by a gust of wind.

b. The ability to maintain bodily equilibrium: Gymnasts must have good balance.

5. A harmonious or satisfying arrangement or proportion of parts or elements, as in a design.

6. An influence or force tending to produce equilibrium; counterpoise.

7. The difference in magnitude between opposing forces or influences.

8. Accounting

a. Equality of totals in the debit and credit sides of an account.

b. The difference between such totals, either on the credit or the debit side.

9. Something that is left over; a remainder.

10. Chemistry Equality of mass and net electric charge of reacting species on each side of an equation.

11. Mathematics Equality with respect to the net number of reduced symbolic quantities on each side of an equation.

12. A balance wheel.

v. bal·anced, bal·anc·ing, bal·anc·es

1. To determine the weight of (something) in a weighing device.

2. To consider and compare or assess: balanced the pros and cons before making a choice.

3. To bring into or maintain in a state of equilibrium.

4. To act as an equalizing weight or force to; counterbalance.

5. Accounting

a. To compute the difference between the debits and credits of (an account).

b. To reconcile or equalize the sums of the debits and credits of (an account).

c. To settle (an account, for example) by paying what is owed.

6. To bring into or keep in equal or satisfying proportion or harmony.

7. Mathematics & Chemistry To bring (an equation) into balance.

8. To move toward and then away from (a dance partner).


1. To be in or come into equilibrium.

2. To be equal or equivalent.

3. To sway or waver as if losing or regaining equilibrium.

4. To move toward and then away from a dance partner.


in the balance

In an undetermined and often critical position: Our plans were left hanging in the balance. Resolution of that item is still in the balance.

on balance

Taking everything into consideration; all in all.

[Middle English balaunce, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *bilancia, having two scale pans, from Latin bilānx : bi-, two; see dwo- in Indo-European roots + lānx, scale.]

bal′ance·a·ble adj.

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




1. (General Physics) a weighing device, generally consisting of a horizontal beam pivoted at its centre, from the ends of which two pans are suspended. The substance to be weighed is placed in one pan and known weights are placed in the other until the beam returns to the horizontal. See also microbalance

2. an imagined device for assessing events, actions, motives, etc, in relation to each other (esp in the phrases weigh in the balance, hang in the balance)

3. a state of equilibrium

4. something that brings about such a state

5. equilibrium of the body; steadiness: to lose one’s balance.

6. (Psychology) emotional stability; calmness of mind

7. (Art Terms) harmony in the parts of a whole: balance in an artistic composition.

8. the act of weighing factors, quantities, etc, against each other

9. the power to influence or control: he held the balance of power.

10. (Accounting & Book-keeping) something that remains or is left: let me have the balance of what you owe me.

11. (Accounting & Book-keeping) accounting

a. equality of debit and credit totals in an account

b. a difference between such totals

12. (Chemistry) chem the state of a chemical equation in which the number, kind, electrical charges, etc, of the atoms on opposite sides are equal

13. a balancing movement

15. in the balance in an uncertain or undecided condition

16. on balance after weighing up all the factors

17. strike a balance to make a compromise


18. (tr) to weigh in or as if in a balance

19. (intr) to be or come into equilibrium

20. (tr) to bring into or hold in equilibrium

21. (tr) to assess or compare the relative weight, importance, etc, of

22. (tr) to act so as to equalize; be equal to

23. (tr) to compose or arrange so as to create a state of harmony

24. (Chemistry) (tr) to bring (a chemical or mathematical equation) into balance

25. (Accounting & Book-keeping) (tr) accounting

a. to compute the credit and debit totals of (an account) in order to determine the difference

b. to equalize the credit and debit totals of (an account) by making certain entries

c. to settle or adjust (an account) by paying any money due

26. (Accounting & Book-keeping) (intr) (of a business account, balance sheet, etc) to have the debit and credit totals equal

27. (Dancing) to match or counter (one’s dancing partner or his or her steps) by moving towards and away from him or her

[C13: from Old French, from Vulgar Latin bilancia (unattested), from Late Latin bilanx having two scalepans, from bi-1 + lanx scale]

ˈbalanceable adj




(Astrology) the Balance the constellation Libra, the seventh sign of the zodiac

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈbæl əns)

n., v. -anced, -anc•ing. n.

1. a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.

2. something used to produce equilibrium; counterpoise.

3. the ability to maintain bodily equilibrium.

4. mental or emotional steadiness.

5. an instrument for determining weight, typically by the equilibrium of a bar, from each end of which is suspended a scale or pan.

6. the remainder or rest.

7. the power or ability to decide an outcome.


a. equality between the totals of the two sides of an account.

b. the difference between the debit total and the credit total of an account.

c. unpaid difference represented by the excess of debits over credits.

9. preponderant weight: The balance of the blame is on your side.

10. the harmonious integration of components in an artistic work.

11. a wheel that oscillates against the tension of a hairspring to regulate the beats of a watch or clock.

13. (in a stereophonic sound system) the comparative loudness of two speakers.


14. to bring to or hold in equilibrium; poise: to balance a book on one’s head.

15. to arrange or adjust the parts of symmetrically.

16. to be equal or proportionate to.

17. to add up the two sides of (an account) and determine the difference.

18. to weighin a balance.

19. to estimate the relative weight or importance of.

20. to serve as a counterpoise to.


21. to have an equality or equivalence; be in equilibrium.

22. to be in a state wherein debits equal credits.


1. in the balance, with the outcome in doubt or suspense.

2. on balance, considering all aspects.

[1250–1300; *balancia, for *bilancia bilanx with double scales bi- bi-1 + lanx metal dish]

bal′ance•a•ble, adj.

Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

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