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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"). More at ball.


  • IPA(key): /bəˈluːn/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -uːn


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.
  3. Such an object designed to transport people through the air.
  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.


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[1]:
      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.
  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, The House of All Sorts, "Peach Scanties," [2]
      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.


See also[edit]