Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A chiefly Mediterranean perennial herb (Melissa officinalis) in the mint family, grown for its lemon-scented foliage, which is used as a seasoning or for tea. Also called lemon balm.
  • n. Any of several related plants in the mint family, such as the bee balm and the horse balm.
  • n. Any of various aromatic resins exuded from several trees and shrubs, especially the balm of Gilead (Commiphora) and related plants.
  • n. An aromatic salve or oil.
  • n. A pleasing aromatic fragrance.
  • n. A soothing, healing, or comforting agent or quality.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of various aromatic resins exuded from certain plants, especially trees of the genus Commiphora of Africa, Arabia and India and Myroxylon of South America.
  • n. A plant or tree yielding such substance.
  • n. Any soothing oil or lotion, especially an aromatic one.
  • n. Something soothing.
  • n. Any of various aromatic plants of the genus Melissa, such as lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) or bee balm.
  • v. To anoint with balm, or with anything medicinal.
  • v. To soothe; to mitigate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An aromatic plant of the genus Melissa.
  • n. The resinous and aromatic exudation of certain trees or shrubs.
  • n. Any fragrant ointment.
  • n. Anything that heals or that mitigates pain.
  • transitive v. To anoint with balm, or with anything medicinal.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An oily, aromatic, resinous substance, exuding spontaneously from trees of the genus Balsamodendron; hence, by extension, any aromatic or odoriferous exudation from trees or shrubs, whether spontaneous or after incision; balsam.
  • n. An aromatic preparation used in embalming the dead. See embalm.
  • n. Any aromatic or fragrant ointment, whether for ceremonial or for medicinal use, as for healing wounds or soothing pain. (For the ecclesiastical use, see balsam.)
  • n. Aromatic fragrance; sweet odor.
  • n. Anything which heals, soothes, or mitigates pain.
  • n. A tree that yields balm; especially, a tree of the genus Balsamodendron.
  • n. One of several aromatic plants of the natural order Labiatæ, particularly plants of the genus Melissa.
  • n. A fragrant resin from South America. See carauna.
  • n. In North America, the balsam-poplar, Populus balsamifera, the buds of which are coated in spring with an odorous balsam; also occasionally the balsam-fir, Abies balsamea, which yields the Canada balsam.
  • n. The sweet balm, Dracocephalum Canariense (see above).
  • To embalm.
  • To anoint as with balm or with anything fragrant or medicinal.
  • To soothe; mitigate; assuage; heal.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any of various aromatic resinous substances used for healing and soothing
  • n. semisolid preparation (usually containing a medicine) applied externally as a remedy or for soothing an irritation

Etymologies

Middle English baume, balsam, from Old French basme, from Latin balsamum; see balsam.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French basme, from Latin balsamum. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "COMINIUS: Though I could wish
    You were conducted to a gentle bath,
    And balms applied to you, yet dare I never
    Deny your asking: take your choice of those
    That best can aid your action."
    - William Shakespeare, 'The Tragedy of Coriolanus'.

    August 28, 2009