Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: Vulgar Latin bilancia, from Late Latin bilanx 'having two pans', from Latin lanx 'plate'


1 noun
bal‧ance1 S2 W2


[uncountable] a state in which all your weight is evenly spread so that you do not fallCOLLOCATIONS COLLOCATIONS
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
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.

equal amounts

[singular, uncountable] 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.

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.

surprise somebody

catch/throw somebody off balance

to surprise someone and make them confused and no longer calm:
The question caught him off balance.


[countable]BFB the amount of money that you have in your bank account:
My bank balance isn't good.

money owed

[countable] 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.

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.

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.

for weighing

[countable]TM an instrument for weighing things, with two dishes that hang from a bar [= scales]

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.

the balance of evidence/probability etc

the most likely answer or result produced by opposing information, reasons etc

➔ checks and balances

at check2 (4)

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