One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Very lightweight wood used chiefly for making models and rafts.
- ‘Buildings were represented as shiny plastic models in the middle of balsa wood surrounds - and to reduce the surrounding context to the level of featureless balsa wood says it all, really.’
- ‘His model aircraft were usually scruffy constructions of paper and balsa wood and far from aerodynamically efficient.’
- ‘One of these was to build models of an earthquake-proof house out of balsa wood.’
- ‘We've all seen sketches and clay models of new cars, or balsa wood models of skyscrapers: these aren't made for fun.’
- ‘Though a good portion of board material and design during the 50's was based on the use of balsa wood, the 50's were also extremely influential to surfboard technology.’
- ‘In the past he has replicated rolls of floral-printed toilet paper in silk, modeled Tupperware cups of beeswax and created sponges of balsa wood.’
- ‘Hunt constructed these lightweight volumes from thin ribs of spruce or balsa wood before sheathing them in layers of silk paper and metal leaf.’
- ‘Being much less dense than balsa wood, these expanded polystyrene floats are much smaller, offering less resistance to the strike which, in practical terms, should mean more fish are hooked.’
- ‘Then there was the time some company put cheap balsa wood model airplanes inside the conference tote bag.’
- ‘Unlike his California contemporaries, Snyder primarily used balsa wood removed from scrapped Navy life rafts.’
- ‘For example, balsa wood is one of the lightest, least dense woods there is, and it's considered a hardwood.’
- ‘It turns out that the ‘smoking gun’ the warbloggers have been braying about for the past week is made of balsa wood and duct tape, and powered by lawnmower engines.’
- ‘If you're thinking of building an escape raft, all you'll get is balsa wood.’
- ‘The model with its precarious bits of balsa wood just as it was, glued down, was kept for more than a year.’
- ‘Aero modellers use balsa wood to fashion their models.’
- ‘Luckily, though, they don't ski like balsa wood.’
- ‘Iconic monster Godzilla has smashed up his last balsa wood model of Tokyo after the Japanese studio behind the films decided to end the long-running franchise.’
- ‘Their project involved newspapers, balsa wood, and glue.’
- ‘I wonder if architects even still build those cute models out of foamcore and balsa wood anymore.’
- ‘Here at the launch site they were just a few dozen engineers and laborers in the deep wilderness, every blessed thing brought in piece by piece on balsa wood rafts.’
2The fast-growing tropical American tree from which balsa is obtained.
Ochroma lagopus or 'pyramidale', family Bombacaceae
- ‘The only trees that are in danger are the hardwoods, such as balsa and African Blackwood, as these take far longer to grow than trees used for paper production.’
- ‘A relatively poor country, Equador exports bananas and balsa, a fact of interest to Matthew.’
- ‘The company claims the tree is a genetically engineered plant that combines the best qualities of balsa, bamboo, and aspen, but the USDA has never heard of such a Frankenwood.’
- ‘We hiked up Vermont Valley with a guide, Ellroy, to look for indigenous wild St. Vincent parrots, through thick rain forest of figs, palms, balsa and incongruous pine trees.’
- ‘Other wood boards sold for in excess of $10,000 a piece, including a 1950s balsa paddleboard and a redwood plank from the 1930s.’
Early 17th century (denoting a kind of South American raft or fishing boat): from Spanish, ‘raft’.
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