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Colorful toy balloons.


1570, "a game played with a large, inflated leather ball" (possibly via Middle French ballon) from Italian pallone (large ball) from palla (ball), from Lombardic *palla. The Northern Italian form, balla (ball shaped bundle), today a doublet, likely derived from Old French balle, from Frankish *balla (ball), and may have influenced the spelling of this word. Both Germanic words are from Proto-Germanic *ballô (ball), *balluz, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰoln- (bubble), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰel- (to blow, swell, inflate). Akin to Old High German ballo, bal (ball), (German Ballen (bale); Ball "ball"). Doublet of ballon. More at ball.



English Wikipedia has an article on:

balloon (plural balloons)

  1. An inflatable buoyant object, often (but not necessarily) round and flexible.
  2. Such an object as a child’s toy or party decoration.
  3. Such an object designed to transport people or equipment through the air.
    • 1786, John Jeffries, Jean-Pierre Blanchard, A narrative of the two aerial Voyages of Dr. J. with Mons. Blanchard: with meteorological observations and remarks.[1], page 45:
      We immediately threw out all the little things we had with us, ſuch as biſcuits, apples, &c. and after that one of our oars or wings; but ſtill deſcending, we caſt away the other wing, and then the governail ; having likewiſe had the precaution, for fear of accidents, while the Balloon was filling, partly to looſen and make it go eaſy, I now ſucceeded in attempting to reach without the Car, and unſcrewing the moulinet, with all its apparatus; I likewiſe caſt that into the ſea.
  4. (medicine) A sac inserted into part of the body for therapeutic reasons; such as angioplasty.
  5. A speech bubble.
  6. A type of glass cup, sometimes used for brandy.
  7. (architecture) A ball or globe on the top of a pillar, church, etc.
    the balloon of St. Paul's Cathedral in London
  8. (chemistry) A round vessel, usually with a short neck, to hold or receive whatever is distilled; a glass vessel of a spherical form.
  9. (pyrotechnics) A bomb or shell.
  10. (obsolete) A game played with a large inflated ball.
  11. (engraving) The outline enclosing words represented as coming from the mouth of a pictured figure.
  12. (slang) A woman's breast.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:breasts
  13. (slang) A small container for illicit drugs made from a condom or the finger of a latex glove, etc.
    • 2016, David Cornwell, Like it Matters:
      And all I had to do in return was take a drive up to Ricardo's place on the way home and then a pretty edgy one back to Rondebosch with a balloon of coke sandwiched between two pairs of underpants.
  14. (finance) Synonym of balloon payment.
    • 1986, James M. Johnson, Fundamentals of finance for equipment lessors:
      The purpose of the balloon is to reduce the periodic payment required during the life of the financing period.


  • (inflatable object):
  • (child’s toy): toy balloon
  • (in medicine):
  • (speech bubble): speech bubble, fumetto



Coordinate terms[edit]


Derived terms[edit]




balloon (third-person singular simple present balloons, present participle ballooning, simple past and past participle ballooned)

  1. (intransitive) To increase or expand rapidly.
    His stomach ballooned from eating such a large meal.
    Prices will balloon if we don't act quickly.
    • 2016 May 23, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, “Apocalypse pits the strengths of the X-Men series against the weaknesses”, in The Onion AV Club[2]:
      For the franchise’s ballooning, unmanageable cast of mutants, picking sides now seems to have less to do with choosing between cooperation (which the recent movies implicitly distrust) and resistance, and more with whichever flashback-prone white dude’s overbearing savior complex works for you.
    • 2022 April 6, Conrad Landin, “ScotRail in the public eye...”, in RAIL, number 954, page 39:
      ScotRail has long been run at a significant subsidy, with only the Edinburgh-Glasgow express line making a profit from fares, but government support has ballooned since the start of the pandemic.
  2. (intransitive) To go up or voyage in a balloon.
  3. (transitive) To take up in, or as if in, a balloon.
  4. (transitive) To inflate like a balloon.
    • 1944, Emily Carr, “Peach Scanties”, in The House of All Sorts:
      A puff of wind from the open door caught and ballooned the scanties; off they sailed, out the window billowing into freedom.
  5. (transitive, sports) To strike (a ball) so that it flies high in the air.
    • 2015, Steve Wilson, A View From The Terraces (part 2, page 138)
      After four minutes, leading goalscorer Haworth slid in but ballooned the ball over from six yards, and Hume then outran the defence to get to the by-line, but he could only hit his cross straight out.
  6. (aviation) Of an aircraft: to plunge alternately up and down.
    Synonym: porpoise
    • 1961, Flying Magazine, volume 69, number 3, page 86:
      The plane ballooned into the air about 20 feet, banging down again for another good-sized hop.


See also[edit]