I. noun 1. [ mass noun] — an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady • she lost her balance and fell.
[Sailing] the ability of a boat to stay on course without adjustment of the rudder.
3. [ mass noun] — a situation in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions • the obligations of political balance in broadcasting
• [in sing.]
try to keep a balance between work and relaxation.
4. mental or emotional stability • the way to some kind of peace and personal balance.
5. the relative volume of various sources of sound • the balance of the voices is good.
[Art] harmony of design and proportion.
7. an apparatus for weighing, especially one with a central pivot, beam, and two scales. 8. ( the Balance) — the zodiacal sign or constellation Libra. 9. a counteracting weight or force. 10. (also balance wheel) — the regulating device in a clock or watch. 11. [ mass noun] — a predominating amount; a preponderance •
the balance of opinion was that work was more important than leisure.
12. a figure representing the difference between credits and debits in an account; the amount of money held in an account • he accumulated a healthy balance with the savings bank.
13. the difference between an amount due and an amount paid • the holiday balance must be paid by 8 weeks before departure.
14. [in sing.] — an amount left over. II. verb — [with obj.] 1. put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall • a mug that she balanced on her knee.
2. [no obj.] — remain in a steady position without falling • Richard balanced on the ball of one foot.
3. offset or compare the value of (one thing) with another • the cost of obtaining such information needs to be balanced against its benefits.
4. counteract or equal the effect or importance of • he balanced his radical remarks with more familiar declarations.
5. establish equal or appropriate proportions of elements in • policies that help women balance work and family life.
6. compare debits and credits in (an account) so as to ensure that they are equal • the law requires the council to balance its books each year.
7. [no obj.] — (of an account) have credits and debits equal. • a surplus on the capital account to make the account balance.
III. phrases 1. balance of payments /ˌbaləns əv ˈpeɪmənts / the difference in total value between payments into and out of a country over a period.[as modifier] • a balance-of-payments deficit.
2. balance of power /ˌbaləns əv ˈpaʊə / a. a situation in which states of the world have roughly equal power. b. the power held by a small group when larger groups are of equal strength. 3. balance of trade /ˌbaləns əv ˈtreɪd / the difference in value between a country’s imports and exports. • a country with a worsening balance of trade in manufactured products.
4. in the balance in an uncertain or critical state • his survival hung in the balance for days.
5. on balance when all factors are taken into consideration • on balance, he was pleased with how things had gone.
6. strike a balance choose a moderate course. • she’s decided to strike a balance between fashionable and accessible.
IV. derivatives balancer /ˈbalənsə / noun
– origin Middle English (in sense 3 of the noun): from Old French balance (noun), balancer (verb), based on late Latin (libra) bilanx ‘(balance) having two scale pans’, from bi- ‘twice, having two’ + lanx ‘scale pan’.