Definition of balm in English:



  • 1A fragrant cream or liquid used to heal or soothe the skin.

    ‘a skin balm for use after shaving’
    • ‘Most shaving creams contain a little moisturiser, but if a man needs to improve the general condition of his skin, then he should use an aftershave balm.’
    • ‘Olive oil also acts as a soothing balm for all types of skin rashes, including those caused through an allergic reaction.’
    • ‘The better ones will lavish you with tiny containers of balms, lotions and other sweet-smelling potions.’
    • ‘Health kits, containing handy wooden tools made of acacia tree, will help to kill pain in your body parts without the application of any balms.’
    • ‘He noted that many young physicians were healing themselves with the same balms they prescribed for patients.’
    • ‘She also had a herb and vegetable garden, where she would grow her own food and ingredients for homemade medicinal balms and liquids.’
    • ‘We tested hundreds of colors and moisturizing balms to pick these favorites.’
    • ‘Calendula lotion can be used as a soothing balm.’
    • ‘From shampoos to pain balms - they have a whole array of consumer items in their ever-expanding list.’
    • ‘Although she treats the scarring with ointments, balms and appropriate make-up, camouflaging the scars is only partially successful.’
    • ‘Male grooming is booming in Yorkshire - but do men actually know their scrubs from their balms and their gels from their serums?’
    • ‘If you are concerned about caring for your skin you can buy skin cream, bug balm and wind balm - all made from only natural ingredients.’
    • ‘As a precaution I had come armed with repellent cream and balm.’
    • ‘With modern grooming products, battery-powered razors, and shaving balms to smooth the skin, there's probably no excuse for a man to have any facial hair.’
    • ‘Body washes, shampoos, liquid talc, massaging balms and skin lotions are all priced at £3.99.’
    • ‘He unpacked enough magical stuff to start making potions and balms for healing again.’
    • ‘An extension to her practice is the line of lotions, gels, creams, balms and lip glosses.’
    • ‘If lipstick ‘bleeds’ into lines around your lips, drench them with moisturisers and use a balm every night.’
    • ‘Would my hard veneer of masculinity be transformed into a soft glow by the balm of moisturising cream?’
    • ‘The most common products used for the lip area include lipsticks and balms.’
    ointment, lotion, cream, salve, liniment, embrocation, rub, gel, emollient, unguent, balsam, moisturizer
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    1. 1.1 Something that has a soothing or restorative effect.
      ‘the murmur of the water can provide balm for troubled spirits’
      • ‘The oil of religion shouldn't be used to increase the flames of violence but as a balm to heal the wounds of the people.’
      • ‘What you need is an aural balm to soothe all ears.’
      • ‘Indeed, an evenly divided Congress could provide the healing balm the country desperately needs.’
      • ‘As someone who regularly complains about modern African art's lack of visibility in contemporary exhibitions, this dual presentation was a balm for the spirit, a hint of better things to come.’
      • ‘His best friend's laughter was like a balm, soothing away all his tension and residual nervousness from the date.’
      • ‘Anyone who has ever had a friend comment on their music collection in a less than favourable fashion will find this article balm for their troubled soul.’
      • ‘They come for the balm that touch can provide in times that are immensely stressful to the human psyche.’
      • ‘This was a writer who used words as weapons, as salves, as balms and ballistic missiles.’
      • ‘A new love could be the balm that soothes your soul.’
      • ‘It is a place to reflect on noble sacrifice and draw comfort from the balm of uplifting scenery.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the soaring crude oil price and burgeoning demand in the Far East should provide some soothing balm to the share price.’
      • ‘It also reminds in the quietest way how families can provide a balm against this worry.’
      • ‘Again, the nature of the job has a lot to do with it: plenty of brain-food, regular contact with enthusiastic law clerks, and life tenure, which is a balm to anyone's blood pressure.’
      • ‘For visitors the relaxed atmosphere soothes like a balm after the heated days of summer.’
      • ‘These people cannot or will not allow themselves the comfort, the balm, that the boy's soul lives eternally.’
      • ‘For a moment, the murk feels strangely comforting, like walking out of a rave into the balm of an urban winter smog.’
      • ‘Her smile and her touch were a comforting balm to Estelle.’
      • ‘Three weeks in Thailand (which I've just enjoyed) are a balm to any spirit.’
      • ‘Mushroom-hunting is a balm to both body and spirit.’
      • ‘Yet while most young'uns turn to the soothing balm of indifference, others are drawn toward alternative means of expressing their frustration, which is where hip-hop steps up to bat.’
      relief, comfort, ease, consolation, cheer, solace
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  • 2A tree which yields a fragrant resinous substance, especially one used in medicine.

    Species in several families, in particular those of the genus Commiphora (family Burseraceae). See also balm of Gilead

    • ‘Now this did not one jot move the orange till she saw a man at work with an incision-knife, upon a balm-tree there at hand, to let out the balsam.’
    • ‘Shakyamuni passed away from his 80 years life at the foot of the Linden balm tree in Kushinagara, India.’
    • ‘A typical nest thus pointed out by an over-obliging bird was saddled neatly on a horizontal limb of a balm tree at the height of about 30 feet from the ground and the ever-present lake.’
    • ‘The balm tree is no longer found in Judea.’
    • ‘Sitting here, I have so far watched a hummingbird mating ritual, the honey bees at the balm tree, the unusually marked bees in flowering chives.’
    1. 2.1mass noun The resinous substance yielded by a balm.
      • ‘The balm exuded by this shrub led to it being regarded throughout part of its native range (especially in Spain, Italy, & Greece) as one & the same with the biblical Balm of Gilead.’
  • 3mass noun A bushy herb of the mint family, with leaves smelling and tasting of lemon.

    Melissa officinalis, family Labiatae

    • ‘My favorite herbs to grow are basil, oregano, lemon balm, parsley and mint.’
    • ‘To ensure that the herb is fresh and potent, crush a few leaves and take a whiff; lemon balm should smell like lemons.’
    • ‘In his head, he made a catalog of what the tea would need - blackcurrant, chamomile, heather, hawthorn, lemon balm, motherwort, marjoram, passion flower, and St John's wort.’
    • ‘The consensus is that they tend to avoid aromatic herbs including garlic, onions, chives, rosemary, lavender, lemon balm, mint, tansy, lovage, marjoram, thyme, sage and fennel.’
    • ‘In addition to peppermint and ginger, good stomach-friendly seasonings include caraway, chamomile, dill, fennel, lavender, lemon balm, rosemary and thyme.’
    • ‘A favorite blend is equal parts of spearmint, chamomile flowers, fennel seeds, catnip and lemon balm.’
    • ‘Mint, lemon balm, pennyroyal, chives, chamomile, mayflower, and summer savory are a few herbs perfectly suited to this microclimate.’
    • ‘Herbs such as chives, lemon balm, marjoram, and mint are also attractive to insects.’
    • ‘There will also be a scented area with plants such as curry, rosemary, lemon balm and lavender.’
    • ‘They are, in descending order of potency, lemon balm, peppermint and spearmint.’
    • ‘Besides picking the more familiar lemon balm, coltsfoot and mullein, I found myself picking honeysuckle flowers for their antibacterial and antiviral properties.’
    • ‘I found my homegrown mint, lemon balm and chamomile were more flavorful than the herbal ingredients I could buy.’
    • ‘Growing my own fresh herbs saves me easily $35-50 per year… I grow my own oregano, basil, lemon balm, lemon thyme, chives, sage, and cilantro.’
    • ‘Along with taking herbs, inhale the relaxing scents of lavender, chamomile, lemon balm, bergamot, orange blossom or rose.’
    • ‘You can also buy the balms direct from the company's website for $3 each.’
    • ‘Some of my favourites include vervain, rosemary, lemon balm, skullcap, wild oats and ginseng.’
    • ‘Its flavour is similar to juniper, and like lemon balm its leaves can be used as a bath herb or dried for potpourri and herb pillows.’
    • ‘Herbs you can use in the bath are bay leaf, chamomile, hyssop, lemon balm and lime flowers.’
    • ‘Lyle was restricted to only water and tea made of chamomile, lemon balm and spearmint, and he was not to drink fruit juice for several weeks.’
    • ‘Harvest culinary and medicinal herbs like lemon balm, mint, French tarragon, summer savory and basil before they go to seed.’
    1. 3.1 Used in names of other aromatic herbs of the mint family, e.g. bee balm.
      • ‘The apothecary, Harold, was robbed of some herbs and balms, as I am sure you know.’
      • ‘Bee Balm is a very pretty herb with a wonderful fruity, minty aroma.’
      • ‘I purchased my bee balm from flea and farmer's markets.’
      • ‘I almost passed over her, cloaked in an old brown robe and deep in conversation with a toothless old peasant woman selling various herbs and balms.’
      • ‘They can't see red, but are attracted to some red flowers, such as bee balm, that reflect ultraviolet light.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘preparation for embalming, fragrant resinous substance’): from Old French basme, from Latin balsamum (see balsam).