bal|ance1 W2S2 [ˈbæləns] n
2¦(equal amounts)¦
3 on balance
4¦(surprise somebody)¦
6¦(money owed)¦
8 be/hang in the balance
9 tip/swing the balance
10¦(for weighing)¦
11¦(mental/emotional health)¦
12 the balance of evidence/probability etc
[Date: 1200-1300; : Old French; Origin: Vulgar Latin bilancia, from Late Latin bilanx 'having two pans', from Latin lanx 'plate']
1.) ¦(STEADY)¦[U]
a state in which all your weight is evenly spread so that you do not fall
I lost my balance and fell on my face.
We were struggling to keep our balance as the boat rolled.
I thought she was going to fall, but she recovered her balance and carried on down the stairs.
a powerful blow that knocked his opponent off balance
I've got a good sense of balance and learnt to ski quite quickly.
2.) ¦(EQUAL AMOUNTS)¦ [singular, U]
a state in which opposite forces or influences exist in equal or the correct amounts, in a way that is good
≠ ↑imbalance balance between
Try to keep a balance between work and play.
balance of
Pesticides seriously upset the balance of nature .
We need to strike a balance (=succeed in finding a balance) between the needs of the community and the rights of the individual.
3.) on balance
if you think something on balance, you think it after considering all the facts
I think on balance I prefer the old system.
catch/throw sb off balance
to surprise someone and make them confused and no longer calm
The question caught him off balance, and he didn't know what to say.
5.) ¦(BANK)¦
the amount of money that you have in your bank account
My bank balance isn't very healthy.
6.) ¦(MONEY OWED)¦
the balance of a debt is the amount of money that you still owe after you have paid some of it
The balance is due at the end of the month.
the balance
the amount of something that remains after some has been used, spent, mentioned etc
= ↑the rest
The firm owns about 96% of the portfolio, with the balance belonging to our family.
8.) be/hang in the balance
if the future or success of something hangs in the balance, you cannot yet know whether the result will be bad or good
Meanwhile, the fate of the refugees continues to hang in the balance.
9.) tip/swing the balance
to influence the result of an event
The dignity and courage shown by the President may tip the balance in his party's favour .
an instrument for weighing things, with two dishes that hang from a bar
= ↑scales
11.) ¦(MENTAL/EMOTIONAL HEALTH)¦ [singular]
when someone's mind is healthy and their emotional state is normal
The death of her friend had disturbed the balance of her mind .
12.) the balance of evidence/probability etc
the most likely answer or result produced by opposing information, reasons etc
checks and balances atcheck2 (4)
COLLOCATES for sense 1
lose your balance (=become unsteady)
keep your balance (=stay steady)
recover/regain your balance (=become steady again)
be off balance (=unable to stay steady)
knock/pull/throw somebody off balance
sense of balance
balance 2
balance2 S3 v
1.) [I and T]
to be in or get into a steady position, without falling to one side or the other, or to put something into this position
balance sth on sth
She was balancing a plate of food on her knees.
balance on
He turned around, balancing awkwardly on one foot.
2.) [I and T]
to be equal in importance, amount, value, or effect to something that has the opposite effect
Job losses in manufacturing were balanced by job increases in the service sector.
just enough sugar to balance the acidity of the fruit
3.) [T]
to consider the importance of one thing in relation to something else when you are making a decision
balance sth against sth
The courts must balance our liberty against the security of the nation.
4.) balance the budget
if a government balances the budget, they make the amount of money that they spend equal to the amount of money available
5.) balance the books
to show that the amount of money a business has received is equal to the amount spent
balance out phr v
if two or more things balance out, the final result is that they are equal in amount, importance, or effect
Sometimes I look after the kids and sometimes John does - it all balances out.

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.

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  • Balance — Bal ance (b[a^]l ans), n. [OE. balaunce, F. balance, fr. L. bilanx, bilancis, having two scales; bis twice (akin to E. two) + lanx plate, scale.] 1. An apparatus for weighing. [1913 Webster] Note: In its simplest form, a balance consists of a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • balance — BALANCE. s. f. Instrument dont on se sert pour peser, composé de deux bassins de même poids, suspendus à un fléau. Balance juste. Fausse balance. Les bassins, les plats d une balance. La languette d une balance. Le fléau d une balance. Tenir la… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • balance — BALANCE. subst. f. Instrument à deux bassins servant à peser. Balance juste. fausse balance. les bassins de la balance. la languette de la balance. le fleau de la balance. tenir la balance juste. faire pencher la balance. On dit que, Le poids… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

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  • balance — 1. The noun is about four centuries older than the verb, and has derived several figurative uses from its primary meaning of ‘an apparatus for weighing’, as for example in accounting (where the notion of balancing the books is ever present) and… …   Modern English usage

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  • balance — or Balance [bal′əns] n. [ME & OFr, prob. via ML < VL * bilancia < LL bilanx, having two scales < L bis, twice + lanx, a dish, scale < IE * elek , extended stem of base * el , to bend > ELBOW] 1. an instrument for weighing, esp. one …   English World dictionary

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