Definition of balloon in English:

balloon

noun

  • 1A small coloured rubber bag which is inflated with air and then sealed at the neck, used as a child's toy or a decoration.

    ‘the room was festooned with balloons and streamers’
    figurative ‘his derision pricked the fragile balloon of her vanity’
    • ‘Those who attended were greeted with a splendid display of colour with helium balloons, banners and flags festooning the walls of the Glenside.’
    • ‘Smaller balloons are then inflated around the main structure, and the process repeated to create mini-igloos for the guests and staff to sleep in.’
    • ‘The place was well decorated, with balloons and streamers hanging everywhere.’
    • ‘The committee had a four-course meal, upmarket wines, auction prizes, 2000 balloons and other decorations and a Perth band lined up.’
    • ‘They're the kind of balloons which when inflated are shaped like round pillows.’
    • ‘Other similarly coloured decorations included flowers, balloons, the cake and the reception at the Hanover International.’
    • ‘The Hall was beautifully decorated for the occasion with coloured balloons, lighting, ribbons and included a full-size cat-walk.’
    • ‘The Murfits ensured everything was organised for the party with colourful balloons, streamers and of course the cake - a black forest gateau.’
    • ‘It is now colourfully decorated in balloons and streamers.’
    • ‘Many held aloft signs, waved flags or held multi coloured balloons.’
    • ‘Some less-obvious (but easily acquired) tools include balloons and a rubber mallet.’
    • ‘Clad in their red and white costumes bearing similar coloured balloons and ribbons they enjoyed their participation.’
    • ‘After he made his promises, a shower of balloons and confetti sealed the audience's excitement as well.’
    • ‘The gym was crowded and decorated with balloons and streamers.’
    • ‘The package contained a funny hat, a stick on mustache, and a bouncing balloon with the rubber band on it.’
    • ‘She grabbed my hand and led me through a front door that was heavily decorated with balloons and streamers.’
    • ‘Coloured cut outs of red hearts, and heart-shaped balloons, decorated the walls and roof in the dimly lit ballroom.’
    • ‘Local residents pulled out all the stops to make Santa feel welcome, with balloons and decorations.’
    • ‘Decorate your home inexpensively with loads of balloons and streamers.’
    • ‘The gaily coloured banners and balloons decorating the streets give the impression of an impromptu homecoming party.’
  • 2A large bag filled with hot air or gas to make it rise in the air, typically one carrying a basket for passengers.

    ‘he set his sights on crossing the Pacific by balloon’
    • ‘Then the group hopped out of the hot air balloon basket and looked upwards towards the dark, gloomy sky.’
    • ‘When the heater kicks on, it fills your robe like a hot-air balloon.’
    • ‘The blast of red hot air filled the balloon, lifting them high into the air.’
    • ‘Hot-air balloons were released and one drifted into some women dressed as Dixie Belles.’
    • ‘Suddenly a hot-air balloon, with a young child in it, appears to be coming down in the field, followed by others running at full pelt, trying to aid a safe landing.’
    • ‘It is a big aircraft, which acts more like a hot air balloon than airplane, because of its slow speed and reactions.’
    • ‘One of the hot air balloon races he participated in produced a record-breaking trip from Japan to California.’
    • ‘Yet, it was not until 1783 that the Montgolfier brothers in France first overcame gravity in their hot-air balloon.’
    • ‘A puppy dropped by parachute from a hot-air balloon descends safely into the garden of a secret convent.’
    • ‘Throughout the weekend, static and moving displays, concours, passenger rides, funfairs and hot air balloons will all add to the atmosphere.’
    • ‘The team plays an important role in ensuring the balloon is prepared and filled to suit the timing of the launch and to ensure the envelope is ready for take off.’
    • ‘Hot-air balloons are controlled by adding or reducing the heat, which adjusts the air density within it.’
    • ‘There was enough gossip going around to fill a hot air balloon, but I was happy to say I was never the topic.’
    • ‘Just as an object less dense than water rises to the surface, our balloon filled with hot air rises through the surrounding air.’
    • ‘Another surreal moment came during the middle of a hot-air balloon ride over Serengeti National Park.’
    • ‘But all in all, I could understand hot-air balloon aviators' fascination with the sport.’
    • ‘Tethered hot air balloons and helicopter flights were among the other attractions at the festival.’
    • ‘The finale is especially charming when the Italians climb into hot-air balloons to set off for their homeland.’
    • ‘Marc Sluszny is a record-holder in bungee jumping from a hot-air balloon and in aerobatics hang-gliding.’
    • ‘Colorful hot-air balloons have loaned their construction technology to the builders of air-formed dome buildings.’
    hot-air balloon, fire balloon, barrage balloon, weather balloon
    View synonyms
  • 3A rounded outline in which the words or thoughts of characters in a comic strip or cartoon are written.

    ‘a balloon reading ‘Ka-Pow!’’
    • ‘When applicable, Robinson will overlap his word balloons.’
    • ‘As he read the printed words in the balloons that floated above Dagwood and Blondie he drummed his fingers on the table.’
    • ‘You've mentioned the haiku-like or telegram-like quality of word balloons in comics.’
    • ‘Ottaviani's recreation of the conversation is seriously limited by the confines of cartoon balloons and a mere six panels on a page.’
    • ‘It was finished artwork, and they would ask me to, you know, insert a comma in a word balloon.’
    • ‘The dog's comments are audible and visible in a cartoon balloon.’
    • ‘The ironic tone is a visual effect produced by encapsulating quoted matter in the balloons - a cartoonish medium that gives us permission to laugh again.’
    • ‘What difference does it make that he's reading his words on pages of color and ink, the dialogue in word balloons?’
    • ‘They're confused as to whether one follows the panels across or down, in what order the word balloons are sequenced, and so forth.’
    • ‘I could write scripts and storyboard style using stick figures and balloons and captions.’
    • ‘As in comic strips, dots trail up to the balloon, indicating you are thinking.’
    • ‘‘One word balloon in From Hell completely hijacked my life,’ he explains.’
    • ‘Practically every panel in the book has something, often a word balloon, but sometimes an arm or a piece of clothing, poking out over the edge.’
    • ‘One fragment with the smile intact rests a step above the Moor's head, as wordless cartoon balloons float in dumb surprise above.’
    • ‘The original version is censored, using goofy Batman inspired cartoon balloon words to block out some excessively gory details.’
    • ‘Readers may not even notice some of the more radical elements like word balloons that get cut off by the panel borders.’
    • ‘This is because the noble medium of funny pictures and word balloons is often derided as juvenile and strictly a boys' own pastime.’
  • 4A large rounded drinking glass, used especially for brandy.

    ‘a balloon of armagnac’
    • ‘I thought that being confined to a brandy balloon, they were just tired.’
    • ‘He should be out eating quail egg sandwiches, drinking extra large balloons of brandy and snorting beluga caviar off the bonnet of a Lamborghini.’
    • ‘In one hand, balanced delicately between her fingers was a half full balloon glass of red wine.’
    • ‘Once this concoction is ready, be careful to drink it in without any garnishing in a brandy balloon glass.’
    • ‘Isn't it nice when your guy opens the door for you and slides the Cabernet Sauvignon into your balloon glass?’
    • ‘Large balloon style glasses are best adapted to the qualities of the red wines, the size of the surface area helping the rapid development of the bouquet.’
    • ‘On the table in front of him stood a balloon glass of great capacity filled with white wine.’
    • ‘How many times have I seen the kitten looking at the goldfish in the brandy balloon, or the kitten hanging from a tree branch?’
    • ‘The decor is unremarkable - flickering oil lights and faux candelabra, prints of Paris, and nicely set tables with proper linen and big generous balloon glasses.’
    • ‘Burgundy, particularly red burgundy, has come to be served in glass balloons, sometimes so large they resemble fish-bowls.’
  • 5Scottish informal A stupid person.

    • ‘Destiny has no idea what she was thinking on this one but my roommate believes he's a balloon because he likes to get high.’
    • ‘"He's a pudding, he's a balloon and he's no good," he went on.’
    idiot, ass, halfwit, nincompoop, blockhead, buffoon, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, cretin, imbecile, dullard, moron, simpleton, clod
    View synonyms

verb

[no object]
  • 1Swell out in a spherical shape.

    ‘the trousers ballooned out below his waist’
    • ‘As the movement of the fans increases, the air picks up the cloth and it balloons up into a large shape.’
    • ‘We're still trying to figure out why in the heck the lines ballooned out the way they did.’
    • ‘The bottom of the dress ballooned out at the waist, the top being form fitting.’
    • ‘If for some reason your wing collapses in a freak wind, the chute will balloon back to shape within seconds.’
    • ‘The monstrous plant ballooned out over the rest of the forest like a giant among ants.’
    • ‘The sleeves and gowns balloon out with layers of lace in an overstated and flamboyant style.’
    • ‘I was about to breathe a sigh of relief when they ballooned out and started to parachute down in the middle of the courtyard.’
    • ‘It was quite billowy, and the sleeves ballooned at the wrists.’
    • ‘It split down the middle to reveal a light lavender petticoat and the sleeves ballooned out, at the top, and cascaded down, past her hands, ending in a waterfall of silky material.’
    • ‘Mounds of skins rolled from under its chin, arms, and its stomach ballooned out.’
    • ‘When it comes to chasing someone on land, it will leave you dumbfounded as it cruises at a supersonic speed with its belly ballooned like heavy grit.’
    • ‘This one was from a different time period and its skirt ballooned, very much like a ball gown a princess of the old times might wear.’
    • ‘Our skirts ballooned out and a putrid smell filled the room, making some of the pupils feel a bit faint.’
    • ‘The necks of old port bottles, for example, usually have a slightly bulbous form, so that the lower part of the cylindrical cork is weakened where it ballooned out and became cone shaped.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, his foot tapped, his eyes closed tight, and his thick cheeks ballooned with air to refill the bladder.’
    swell, swell out, puff out, puff up, bulge, bulge out, bag, belly, belly out, fill, fill out, billow, billow out
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of an amount of money spent or owed) increase rapidly.
      ‘the company's debt has ballooned in the last five years’
      • ‘New York Medicaid costs have ballooned by $13 billion since Albany passed a health-care ‘reform’ act four years ago, supposedly to restrain spending.’
      • ‘The country's capital stock ballooned to reach a level that the economy could not support.’
      • ‘As for fiscal discipline, look what happened: Treasury estimates of the Public Sector Borrowing Requirement ballooned from £28 bn to £35 bn.’
      • ‘By 2004, the figure is projected to balloon another 28 percent to $372 million.’
      • ‘This expansion is a microcosm of the U.S. financial sector, with ballooning assets of indeterminable true economic value.’
      • ‘The amount has ballooned from millions to billions.’
      • ‘On the one hand, ballooning Credit and a glut of liquidity creation were a boon inspiring astonishing asset and earnings growth.’
      • ‘Currently, money market fund assets have ballooned to $1.819 trillion, having increased $18 billion just last week.’
      • ‘I am determined to run a campaign on the great challenges facing this country - from creating jobs, to solving our health care crisis to getting our nation's ballooning deficit under control.’
      • ‘But now a collapsing bubble transforms ballooning revenues into ballooning budget deficits.’
      • ‘But, in any case, one can either have real stimulus, which might get some credit for buoying the economy, and also ballooning the deficit.’
      • ‘Broad money supply has ballooned $943 billion during the past 52 weeks.’
      • ‘As Giscard's vision expanded, costs ballooned from $40 million to $70 million to $100 million.’
      • ‘Beween 1994 and 2002, spending in the state ballooned out of control, rising an average of 13.4 percent per biennium.’
      • ‘It has ballooned out from $290 bn in 1999 to a forecast $560 bn this year.’
      • ‘This rapidly compounded their debt, which has ballooned to £384,000.’
      • ‘That collision of big tax cuts and ballooning deficits has set the stage for an acrimonious debate over how large a tax cut the U.S. can afford.’
      • ‘Yet now they not only refuse to do the right thing again, they want to do the wrong thing (cut taxes and balloon the deficit) over and over again.’
      • ‘The domestic debt has ballooned to $10 trillion from $7 trillion as of April this year as the government continues to borrow from local banks to finance its budget deficit.’
      • ‘Its average employee was obese, ballooning health-care costs.’
      increase rapidly, soar, rocket, shoot up, escalate, mount, surge, spiral, grow rapidly, rise rapidly
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of a person) increase rapidly in weight.
      ‘I ate out of boredom and I just ballooned up’
      • ‘The word on the street is that he has ballooned up like a float in New York's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.’
      • ‘Zellweger again ballooned to a size 14 for the plump part by bingeing on pizza and shunning all exercise.’
      • ‘In the final days of Whitepaws' confinement, when her abdomen ballooned out beneath her, she abruptly abandoned the new premises.’
      • ‘By the time I turned 31, I had ballooned to 252 pounds.’
      • ‘She had ballooned up a good thirty pounds; her ankles were swollen and just carrying around her huge stomach made her ill.’
      • ‘Put me in front of the most delicious buffet in the world, and I will balloon.’
      • ‘She freely told Stevenson her figure had ballooned after she stopped taking a dietary supplement.’
      • ‘During Ali's retirement, he ballooned up to over 280 pounds.’
      • ‘Clothes retailers are reacting to the trend and Gap is introducing bigger sizes for Britain's ballooning children.’
      • ‘Add to that the fact that during this period she had ballooned to an unhealthy 290 pounds.’
      • ‘I unwrapped the towels to discover my baby had ballooned up nicely.’
      • ‘I'd ballooned to about a size 28/30 (from Evans too) on my bum and I was about a size 26 in blouses.’
      • ‘At eight, two years after the birth of his half-sister, his mother had ballooned into a blimp.’
      • ‘By the time we got back to the U.S., these take-no-prisoners tactics were deeply ingrained, and dining on starchy American foods, we ballooned to enormous size.’
      • ‘Sadly he was put down when liver disease saw him balloon to twice his size.’
      • ‘With his weight ballooning, he began working in the livery yard of former jockey, the late Anthony Powell.’
      • ‘I guess mom forgot all together because working a nearly-twelve hour day, or more, makes it hard for you to keep track of your kids or even care if they're ballooning.’
      • ‘I ballooned out to 96 kg just after Christmas, and whilst I never looked fat, I really didn't look lean either.’
      • ‘Jeffries had ballooned up to 300 lbs during his retirement and training was not easy anymore for a 35-year-old man.’
      • ‘Prudie would not quibble with any man who is turned off by a woman who balloons up several sizes from what she was when they initially got together.’
  • 2British (with reference to a ball) lob or be lobbed high in the air.

    ‘the ball ballooned into the air’
    • ‘The ball ballooned off his pads and landed between his feet as Vaughan, in desperation, grabbed the ball.’
    • ‘His kick ballooned into the air on the edge of the box from where Howey headed it back, leaving Nash to make a diving save.’
    • ‘A steep, downward angle of attack launches the ball high with a lot of spin - a shot that balloons in the wind.’
    • ‘He leapt again - at the window this time as the chair bounced off it at a crazy angle, ballooned out of his hands and almost struck Owen in the head.’
    • ‘Yet all the guys around the bat were convinced, because of the way the ball ballooned rather than bounced up, that it had hit Lamby's boot.’
    • ‘He also ballooned three attempted drop goals wide with his side in good attacking positions.’
    • ‘Breen heads a high ball down to Quinn, who balloons his shot over the bar.’
    • ‘The ball then swung from side to side and in the 25th minute he should have opened the scoring, but he ballooned the ball over the crossbar from 10 metres.’
    • ‘Up stepped Beckham, but he slipped horribly at the vital moment of impact and the ball ballooned embarrassingly over the bar.’
    • ‘Darren Huckerby sprung the offside trap in the 10th minute before ballooning over.’
    • ‘The ball ballooned forward and Wells took the return catch.’
    • ‘Now, because I am in a better position at impact, I have lost my tendency to balloon the ball into the wind.’
    • ‘But the full back snatched at the opportunity and ballooned the ball well over the top.’
    • ‘As time ran out Steve Jones ballooned a shot high over the top, while Joe McMahon headed just wide from a Black corner.’
    • ‘Also, if I pushed it or pulled it, the lower trajectory of the ball would keep it from ballooning up and over the dunes.’
    • ‘Attempting a sweep, the ball ballooned off his left forearm but it was difficult to tell whether it brushed the glove on the way past.’
  • 3Travel by hot-air balloon.

    ‘he is famous for ballooning across oceans’
    • ‘'At least it was warm on my hot air ballooning expedition,’ he commented, not managing to hold back an amused smile, his dark eyes alive.’
    • ‘He recently completed a commission of a walking stick topped with a hot air balloon for a man who was keen on ballooning.’
    • ‘He told me that the early morning is the ideal time for this sport as the air is very calm and so this is probably the best time to go hot air ballooning.’
    • ‘The shuttle launch gantry is equipped with seven 1,200-foot-long sliding wires, each attached to a basket similar to those used for hot-air ballooning.’
    • ‘Knapp had been impressed by balloon rallies in the past, but thought it would be too difficult to start ballooning himself.’
    • ‘They can try horse riding, hot air ballooning, jet skiing, windsurfing and Bill and Aine can even get glammed up for a night in a casino.’
    • ‘And under the Outside Now section, exciting new activities on offer in the area will be profiled - from white water rafting to hot air ballooning - with details on how to get involved.’

Phrases

  • when the balloon goes up

    • informal When the action or trouble starts.

      ‘we've got to get our man out of there before the balloon goes up’
      • ‘Next time we will have a longer run at it, and it will lose a darned sight more when the balloon goes up.’
      • ‘I don't think that deadline of March 17 is going to be it, you know, when the balloon goes up.’
      • ‘It will be hard to request more resources if and when the balloon goes up in a place like that.’
      • ‘If he wants to be certain of being absolutely on the ball when the balloon goes up - if it does - it's as well he gets a rest now.’
      • ‘Lo and behold, when the balloon goes up they cannot repay those loans.’
      • ‘They are demanding this, that and the other, but they won't lose out when the balloon goes up - they'll be living it up in Monte Carlo.’

Origin

Late 16th century (originally denoting a game played with a large inflated leather ball): from French ballon or Italian ballone ‘large ball’.

Pronunciation

balloon

/bəˈluːn/