Balance is having the right amount — not too much or too little — of any quality, which leads to harmony or evenness. You might admire the balance someone has achieved between working hard and having fun.

The noun form of balance can also describe finances: If you're making monthly payments on a loan, the total amount you still owe is the balance. Balance is also the physical steadiness that keeps you on your feet. You balance your weight between both sides of your body. Balance has a verb form that has several shades of meaning, typically involving one thing correctly weighed against another, like when you balance your budget.

Primary Meanings of balance

harmonious arrangement or relation of parts or elements within a whole (as in a design)
be in equilibrium
something left after other parts have been taken away
compute credits and debits of an account
a scale for weighing; depends on pull of gravity
Full Definitions of balance

n harmonious arrangement or relation of parts or elements within a whole (as in a design)

“"in all perfectly beautiful objects there is found the opposition of one part to another and a reciprocal balance"- John Ruskin”
proportion, proportionality
Type of:
arrangement, placement
the spatial property of the way in which something is placed

n a state of equilibrium

imbalance, instability, unbalance
a lack of balance or state of disequilibrium
a balance between and interplay of opposing elements or tendencies (especially in art or literature)
electrolyte balance
an equilibrium between the amounts of electrolytes (as calcium and sodium and potassium) that is essential for normal health and functioning
nitrogen balance
the balance between the amount of nitrogen taken in (to the soil or the body) and the amount given off (lost or excreted)
Type of:
a stable situation in which forces cancel one another

n equality of distribution

counterbalance, equilibrium, equipoise
a symmetrical arrangement of the parts of a thing
proportion, symmetry
balance among the parts of something
Type of:
construction, structure
a thing constructed; a complex entity constructed of many parts

n (mathematics) an attribute of a shape or relation; exact reflection of form on opposite sides of a dividing line or plane

correspondence, symmetricalness, symmetry
asymmetry, dissymmetry, imbalance
(mathematics) a lack of symmetry
geometrical regularity, regularity
a property of polygons: the property of having equal sides and equal angles
bilateral symmetry, bilateralism, bilaterality
the property of being symmetrical about a vertical plane
radial symmetry
the property of symmetry about an axis
Type of:
spatial property, spatiality
any property relating to or occupying space

v be in equilibrium

“He was balancing on one foot”
equilibrate, equilibrise, equilibrize
bring into balance or equilibrium
Type of:
have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)

v bring into balance or equilibrium

“She has to balance work and her domestic duties”
balance the two weights”
equilibrate, equilibrise, equilibrize
hold or carry in equilibrium
throw out of balance or equilibrium
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make complete or perfect; supply what is wanting or form the complement to
compensate, correct, counterbalance, even off, even out, even up, make up
adjust for
cancel, offset, set off
make up for
countervail, offset
compensate for or counterbalance
balance in flight by regulating the control surfaces
counteract, counterbalance, countervail, neutralize
oppose and mitigate the effects of by contrary actions
compensate for a weaker partner or member by one's own performance
compensate, cover, overcompensate
make up for shortcomings or a feeling of inferiority by exaggerating good qualities
Type of:
fit, match
make correspond or harmonize

v hold or carry in equilibrium

equilibrate, equilibrise, equilibrize
bring into balance or equilibrium
hold with difficulty and balance insecurely
Type of:
bear, carry, hold
support or hold in a certain manner

n something left after other parts have been taken away

“he took what he wanted and I got the balance
remainder, residual, residue, residuum, rest
leftover, remnant
a small part or portion that remains after the main part no longer exists
Type of:
component, component part, constituent, moiety, part, portion
something determined in relation to something that includes it

n the difference between the totals of the credit and debit sides of an account

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balance of trade, trade balance, trade gap, visible balance
the difference in value over a period of time of a country's imports and exports of merchandise
carry-forward, carry-over
the accumulated and undivided profits of a corporation after provision has been made for dividends and reserves
compensating balance, offsetting balance
a minimum credit balance that a bank may require a borrower to keep on deposit as a condition for granting a loan; a common requirement for establishing a line of credit at a bank
invisible balance
the difference in value over a period of time of a country's imports and exports of services and payments of property incomes
Type of:
difference, remainder
the number that remains after subtraction; the number that when added to the subtrahend gives the minuend

n equality between the totals of the credit and debit sides of an account

trial balance
a balance of debits and credits in double-entry bookkeeping; drawn up to test their equality
Type of:
the quality of being the same in quantity or measure or value or status

v compute credits and debits of an account

Type of:
account, calculate
keep an account of

n a scale for weighing; depends on pull of gravity

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beam balance
a balance consisting of a lever with two equal arms and a pan suspended from each arm
electronic balance
a balance that generates a current proportional to the displacement of the pan
balance for weighing very small objects
spring balance, spring scale
a balance that measure weight by the tension on a helical spring
beam scale, lever scale, steelyard
a portable balance consisting of a pivoted bar with arms of unequal length
analytical balance, chemical balance
a beam balance of great precision used in quantitative chemical analysis
Type of:
scale, weighing machine
a measuring instrument for weighing; shows amount of mass

n a weight that balances another weight

counterbalance, counterpoise, counterweight, equaliser, equalizer
sash weight
a counterweight for a sliding sash
(chemical analysis) a counterweight used in chemical analysis; consists of an empty container that counterbalances the weight of the container holding chemicals
Type of:
an artifact that is heavy

n a wheel that regulates the rate of movement in a machine; especially a wheel oscillating against the hairspring of a timepiece to regulate its beat

balance wheel
Type of:
a simple machine consisting of a circular frame with spokes (or a solid disc) that can rotate on a shaft or axle (as in vehicles or other machines)

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