Definition of ballast in English:

ballast

noun

  • 1Heavy material, such as gravel, sand, iron, or lead, placed low in a vessel to improve its stability.

    • ‘The keel is a centreboard but not weighted; the ballast is in the hull itself (which sounds inefficient but actually works surprisingly well).’
    • ‘The main reason why the ship had sunk is presumed to be that it was poorly designed, highly overloaded with ballast and heavy armaments.’
    • ‘Dutch brick went round the world as ballast in trading ships, confounding its origins as a local, geologically dependent material.’
    • ‘The shells could have been brought back as ballast on ships or collected by sailors or travelers for their wives, daughters, or friends.’
    • ‘The Groattie Hoose, also known as Gow's Folly, was built in 1730 using ballast from Pirate Gow's ship, the Revenge.’
    • ‘Their only interest in the brownstone was probably as occasional ballast for their canoes.’
    • ‘The proposals include getting ships to discharge their ballast in open water - or possibly treat the water to kill off unwanted organisms.’
    • ‘However, the sediment is not usually resuspended when a ship discharges its ballast.’
    • ‘The increased sail area and the raised center of effort required nearly 1,000 more pounds of ballast.’
    • ‘The keel is arranged in box form to carry ballast, and profiled bilge keels are fitted.’
    • ‘In many cases the mode of introduction will be obvious (e.g., ships, their ballast, or importations of infested foodstuffs).’
    • ‘Fassel has good reason not to weigh his ship down with excess ballast.’
    • ‘Many ships discharge their ballast and bilge during loading and unloading because many Black Sea ports lack reception facilities.’
    • ‘That warning enabled her to take on extra water ballast, put out sea anchors and batten down for the blow.’
    • ‘The bilges are firm and ballast is low which makes for a stiff boat that stands up well to a blow.’
    • ‘Shipowners are very conscious of the problems that a ship's ballast brings with it.’
    • ‘Too much of this ballast, and the ship will wallow in the river, endangering the crew and more importantly the cargo if the ship were to capsize.’
    • ‘The cedar was all cut down (so now other species, many of them weeds, grow up) and shipped to Britain as the ballast in ships.’
    • ‘But lying on the ballast, where the ship's ammunition store was located, were quantities of stone, lead, and iron shot.’
    • ‘Lack of proper ballast made the ship unmanageable and he dropped her port bow anchor and radioed for help.’
    1. 1.1 Heavy material carried in an airship or on a hot-air balloon to stabilize it, and jettisoned when greater altitude is required.
      • ‘First, the experimenters tested three unpowered dummy missiles with ballast to simulate the N-69.’
      • ‘Depleted uranium is used, for example, in boats and airplanes as ballast.’
      • ‘The band could use some stinging ballast to balance their sugary tendencies.’
      • ‘It seems like smaller gliders would be preferable and then I wouldn't have to carry the ballast.’
      • ‘To qualify for the $10m Ansari X-Prize, the craft must make two trips to an altitude of 100 km, carrying ballast equivalent to two passengers.’
      • ‘Fortunately, the discussion of ballast, glider, and pilot weight, including wing span, has happened before.’
      • ‘It is obvious that the ‘cancer’ shields were actually invented to add weight to phones in order that they would be more effective when used as ballast in hot air balloons.’
      • ‘In Class 3 ballast became a problem early on as light pilots filled their harnesses with lead so they could fly the same size wings as the bigger guys.’
      • ‘I really need to test glide back at Quest with varying amounts of ballast to see how it flies with more then my light wing loading.’
      • ‘Some bundles of cardboard are bound in a way that airlines can use them as ballast, an extra weight required when the plane doesn't have enough cargo or passengers.’
      • ‘Either he carries more ballast, or his glider/harness has less drag than the ATOS C with me or Johann on it.’
      • ‘That makes me think that I could have flown a glider that wouldn't have seemed so ‘big’ and not had to carry the ballast.’
      • ‘It's almost twice as heavy as lead, so it's great for armour plating, radiation shielding, ballast in missiles and aircraft counterweights.’
      • ‘With no ballast this glider is a handful even in Florida air.’
      • ‘I longed to tell her that dreams can lose their buoyancy, like a gas balloon weighted with too much ballast, sandbagged by too many years.’
      counterbalance, equipoise, counterweight, stabilizer, compensation, recompense, makeweight
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Something that gives stability or substance.
      ‘the film is an entertaining comedy with some serious ideas thrown in for ballast’
      • ‘Without further preamble here is my own preliminary list of threads that we can snip away at, the ballast that we can jettison in the coming months.’
      • ‘So, we felt that if Young and Macuga could draw on Taipei's urban environment this would act as local cultural ballast or a visual counter-balance to these other works.’
      • ‘Start trotting out the same lines, the same solutions and, rather than tapping into a source of riches, you're carrying ballast about with you and you'll soon be buried beneath it.’
      counterweight, counterbalance, counterpoise, balance
      View synonyms
  • 2Gravel or coarse stone used to form the bed of a railroad track or road.

    • ‘A trail of ballast dust fills the space behind as she slices through Ohio Valley towns.’
    • ‘The railway lines and sleepers had already been removed from the route and most of the required ballast was down.’
    • ‘‘We supply Network Rail with products for track ballast, but they've now started to buy from a Norwegian supplier,’ he said.’
    • ‘The bulk of the £200m project, which has seen 1,000 people a day working to renew 71 miles of track, sleepers and ballast, has been finished.’
    • ‘They are also used, to a more limited extent, for railway ballast.’
    • ‘An annual outlay of £110 m will be spent on renewing track, ballast and sleepers, replacing around 47 miles of track.’
    • ‘The northbound line was tackled on the first week, with the jointed track being lifted out and old ballast removed down to the level of the bridge arches.’
    • ‘The stone which provided ballast for the sleepers has partly dissolved in the rain and provided valuable chemicals for flowers such as orchids.’
    • ‘While the last 1.4-mile of track was laid in July this year, work is continuing on packing the track with ballast.’
    • ‘These they quickly appropriated for the railway line's ballast.’
    • ‘I think it'd be a much more traumatic way to go if your head collided with the ballast on the tracks.’
    • ‘The area developed with the founding of the town of Katoomba in the 1860s to supply quarried ballast to the railways.’
    • ‘Salmon reproduction was also hampered by the removal of spawning gravel from the streams in the 1950's, which was used for road surfacing or ballast.’
    • ‘Some 97,000 tonnes of stone were transported in and 10,000 tonnes of ballast laid along the track bed.’
    • ‘But just minutes later, he was struck by a Liverpool-to-Leeds train as he walked along the ballast area between the two railway tracks.’
    • ‘Here Spoornet has raised the ground level on the outside of the up and down main line as well as in between the two main lines with cement sleepers and ballast.’
    • ‘Much of the formation which supports the track is waterlogged and ballast pumps down into the sand below.’
    • ‘Track two the next out from the station had been realigned and was awaiting ballast.’
    • ‘The firm, from Hook in Hampshire, was hired by Balfour Beatty to remove the JCB and ballast after they had been used for railway maintenance work near Elm Road.’
    • ‘The ballast on the ground was much lower than the platform.’
    1. 2.1 A mixture of coarse and fine aggregate for making concrete.
      • ‘It was built from a combination of heavyweight concrete and steel ballast to develop the required weight.’
      • ‘To transfer the weight of the ballast and the box girder to the longitudinal central beam that anchors the stays, vertical posttensioning has been provided in the fin walls.’
      • ‘As well, Mr. MacAdam confirms that he advised the plaintiffs to engage a roofing consultant to give an opinion on the adequacy of the roof flashings and the roofing ballast.’
      • ‘Yellow ballast brick, carried in ships from Europe, was used in construction along with locally quarried stone and coral.’
      • ‘To answer your question, I think that we should all be very grateful for the modern technology of lead ballast.’
      • ‘A viewing platform has been erected for visitors in the hold, which has been partially filled with shingle ballast and barrels to provide a sense of what it would have been like in Nelson's time.’
      • ‘However, later on, we were a bit relieved to find heaps of ballast and sand by the roadside.’
      • ‘The material requirements for any part of either Mulberry A or B were huge - 144,000 tons of concrete, 85,000 tons of ballast and 105,000 tons of steel.’
  • 3A passive component used in an electric circuit to moderate changes in current.

    • ‘Another option was to replace the T - 12 lamps and magnetic ballasts with T - 8 lamps and electronic ballasts.’
    • ‘They also operate 75% more quietly than do conventional electromagnetic ballasts, eliminating the familiar flicker and hum of older fluorescent lights.’
    • ‘It saved more by retrofitting lights in office areas using T - 8 lamps with electronic ballasts.’
    • ‘All that is required is that the fixture's ballast be replaced with one that is compatible with the new lamps.’
    • ‘First, he and his staff replaced 90 percent of older, inefficient lights with electronic ballasts and T8 lamps.’
    • ‘Lighting level controls are gaining in use as more facility managers become aware of the availability of dimming electronic ballasts.’
    • ‘In contrast, electronic ballasts account for only 2 or 3 percent of the fixture's energy use.’
    • ‘With high-intensity-discharge lamps, electronic ballasts are just becoming common.’
    • ‘Each room is also equipped with T - 8 lamps, electronic ballasts and occupancy sensors.’
    • ‘Along with the EMCS, the renovation introduced energy-efficient task lighting and electronic ballasts for all workstation lighting.’
    • ‘Both electronic and magnetic ballasts are available.’
    • ‘Elsewhere, some are just starting to replace T12s with T8s and electronic ballasts.’
    • ‘Most dimming electronic ballasts can reduce light output to as little as 20 percent of maximum.’
    • ‘Electronic ballasts have also made lamp dimming affordable.’
    • ‘New generations of electronic ballasts have overcome many of the problems associated with early designs.’
    • ‘Many loads are highly inductive, such a lightly loaded motors and illumination transformers and ballasts.’
    • ‘The third electrode may be biased at the potential of the anode through a ballast resistor, and be located near the cathode.’
    • ‘Use 4-foot fluorescent fixtures with reflective backing and electronic ballasts for your workroom, garage, and laundry areas.’
    • ‘In almost every case the electronic ballast ensures the highest mean lumens per watt, both by inherent efficiency and, in the case of metal halide lamps, by better lamp power management.’
    • ‘Some dimmable or multilevel electronic ballasts may be activated by PLC signals to cut lighting levels to minimally acceptable levels.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Give stability to (a ship) by putting a heavy substance in its bilge.

    ‘the vessel has been ballasted to give the necessary floating stability’
    • ‘Her twin masts come from the forests of Austria and she is ballasted with lead rather than the great stones used by the Spaniards in their galleons.’
    • ‘The Eide Transporter was ballasted down with water until her transport deck was below water.’
    • ‘‘Each tube will be set in a lay barge, ballasted and lowered with winches,’ says DelGrosso.’
    • ‘Flooding of the docking area is achieved by ballasting the stern of the ship, allowing the landing craft to float.’
    • ‘Most of the remainder was discharged by tankers during the course of ballasting and tank cleaning, or by other types of ship in the form of waste oil.’
  • 2Form (the bed of a railroad line or road) with gravel or coarse stone.

    • ‘Another way was to ballast the train with additional cars, so that the locomotive speed would stabilize at a single value.’
    • ‘All were intended for working passenger trains, but a lot of work was done (by those which could be persuaded to work) on construction and ballasting the new track.’
    • ‘He became involved in 1992 with the introduction of rotationally moulded polymer water ballasted road barriers to Australia.’
    • ‘The systems are either fully adhered, mechanically attached, or loose-laid and ballasted.’
    • ‘When we were done there, we all moved back south of the crossing and began to surface the track in that area, which we had ballasted during the spring trackwork session last April.’
    • ‘Even if it had been told that Soviet Railways ballasted thousands of miles of track with asbestos waste it would not have cared.’

Phrases

  • in ballast

    • (of a ship) laden only with ballast.

      • ‘Discharging commenced on arrival and was completed next afternoon when she sailed in ballast.’
      • ‘Taking a ship in ballast from the Mersey to the Tyne around Scotland was never the best of voyages.’
      • ‘The Ashbury sailed in ballast with 345 extra tons of stone rubbish.’
      • ‘In early 1935, the Rondo left Glasgow in ballast, intending to round Scotland, pick up a cargo in Dunstan, Northumberland, and carry it to Oslo.’
      • ‘So she was - until she reached the west end of Lyme Bay at 8pm on 16 September, 1918, on her way from Cherbourg to Barry in ballast, writes Kendall McDonald.’
      • ‘She was torpedoed while in ballast off Ireland and abandoned, but did not sink.’
      • ‘When wrecked, she was travelling in ballast with her four holds empty from her home port of Aarhus, Denmark, bound for Newcastle-upon-Tyne to pick up a general cargo.’
      • ‘Having left Antwerp in ballast the 2000 ton ship was making her way to New York.’
      • ‘Many ore carriers preferred to clear Maryport in ballast, loading at South Wales ports with coal for Spain.’
      • ‘Through the 1920s and '30s the last great sailing ships would run from Europe to the Far East or Australia and back, then sail home to Åland with local cargo, or in ballast for the winter.’

Origin

Mid 16th century: probably of Low German or Scandinavian origin.

Pronunciation

ballast

/ˈbaləst//ˈbæləst/