Definition of balloon in US English:

balloon

noun

  • 1A brightly colored rubber sac inflated with air and then sealed at the neck, used as a children's toy or a decoration.

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

    ‘he set his sights on crossing the Pacific by balloon’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Just as an object less dense than water rises to the surface, our balloon filled with hot air rises through the surrounding air.’
    • ‘Yet, it was not until 1783 that the Montgolfier brothers in France first overcame gravity in their hot-air balloon.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 balloons are controlled by adding or reducing the heat, which adjusts the air density within it.’
    • ‘Tethered hot air balloons and helicopter flights were among the other attractions at the festival.’
    • ‘Another surreal moment came during the middle of a hot-air balloon ride over Serengeti National Park.’
    • ‘A puppy dropped by parachute from a hot-air balloon descends safely into the garden of a secret convent.’
    • ‘But all in all, I could understand hot-air balloon aviators' fascination with the sport.’
    • ‘One of the hot air balloon races he participated in produced a record-breaking trip from Japan to California.’
    • ‘The blast of red hot air filled the balloon, lifting them high into the air.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is a big aircraft, which acts more like a hot air balloon than airplane, because of its slow speed and reactions.’
    • ‘The finale is especially charming when the Italians climb into hot-air balloons to set off for their homeland.’
    • ‘Throughout the weekend, static and moving displays, concours, passenger rides, funfairs and hot air balloons will all add to the atmosphere.’
    • ‘Hot-air balloons were released and one drifted into some women dressed as Dixie Belles.’
    • ‘There was enough gossip going around to fill a hot air balloon, but I was happy to say I was never the topic.’
    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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The original version is censored, using goofy Batman inspired cartoon balloon words to block out some excessively gory details.’
    • ‘When applicable, Robinson will overlap his 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.’
    • ‘Ottaviani's recreation of the conversation is seriously limited by the confines of cartoon balloons and a mere six panels on a page.’
    • ‘What difference does it make that he's reading his words on pages of color and ink, the dialogue in word balloons?’
    • ‘This is because the noble medium of funny pictures and word balloons is often derided as juvenile and strictly a boys' own pastime.’
    • ‘As in comic strips, dots trail up to the balloon, indicating you are thinking.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘One fragment with the smile intact rests a step above the Moor's head, as wordless cartoon balloons float in dumb surprise above.’
    • ‘I could write scripts and storyboard style using stick figures and balloons and captions.’
    • ‘The dog's comments are audible and visible in a cartoon balloon.’
    • ‘It was finished artwork, and they would ask me to, you know, insert a comma in a word balloon.’
    • ‘‘One word balloon in From Hell completely hijacked my life,’ he explains.’
    • ‘Readers may not even notice some of the more radical elements like word balloons that get cut off by the panel borders.’
  • 4A large rounded drinking glass, used for brandy and other drinks.

    • ‘I thought that being confined to a brandy balloon, they were just tired.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘How many times have I seen the kitten looking at the goldfish in the brandy balloon, or the kitten hanging from a tree branch?’
    • ‘He should be out eating quail egg sandwiches, drinking extra large balloons of brandy and snorting beluga caviar off the bonnet of a Lamborghini.’
    • ‘Isn't it nice when your guy opens the door for you and slides the Cabernet Sauvignon into your balloon glass?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On the table in front of him stood a balloon glass of great capacity filled with white wine.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Burgundy, particularly red burgundy, has come to be served in glass balloons, sometimes so large they resemble fish-bowls.’

verb

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

    ‘the trousers ballooned out below his waist’
    with object ‘the wind ballooned her sleeves’
    • ‘I was about to breathe a sigh of relief when they ballooned out and started to parachute down in the middle of the courtyard.’
    • ‘Mounds of skins rolled from under its chin, arms, and its stomach ballooned out.’
    • ‘The bottom of the dress ballooned out at the waist, the top being form fitting.’
    • ‘As the movement of the fans increases, the air picks up the cloth and it balloons up into a large shape.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, his foot tapped, his eyes closed tight, and his thick cheeks ballooned with air to refill the bladder.’
    • ‘If for some reason your wing collapses in a freak wind, the chute will balloon back to shape within seconds.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Our skirts ballooned out and a putrid smell filled the room, making some of the pupils feel a bit faint.’
    • ‘The sleeves and gowns balloon out with layers of lace in an overstated and flamboyant style.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We're still trying to figure out why in the heck the lines ballooned out the way they did.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The monstrous plant ballooned out over the rest of the forest like a giant among ants.’
    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) increase rapidly.
      ‘the company's debt has ballooned in the last five years’
      ‘ballooning government spending’
      • ‘Currently, money market fund assets have ballooned to $1.819 trillion, having increased $18 billion just last week.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This expansion is a microcosm of the U.S. financial sector, with ballooning assets of indeterminable true economic value.’
      • ‘As for fiscal discipline, look what happened: Treasury estimates of the Public Sector Borrowing Requirement ballooned from £28 bn to £35 bn.’
      • ‘Beween 1994 and 2002, spending in the state ballooned out of control, rising an average of 13.4 percent per biennium.’
      • ‘On the one hand, ballooning Credit and a glut of liquidity creation were a boon inspiring astonishing asset and earnings growth.’
      • ‘Broad money supply has ballooned $943 billion during the past 52 weeks.’
      • ‘But, in any case, one can either have real stimulus, which might get some credit for buoying the economy, and also ballooning the deficit.’
      • ‘But now a collapsing bubble transforms ballooning revenues into ballooning budget deficits.’
      • ‘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 amount has ballooned from millions to billions.’
      • ‘This rapidly compounded their debt, which has ballooned to £384,000.’
      • ‘The country's capital stock ballooned to reach a level that the economy could not support.’
      • ‘It has ballooned out from $290 bn in 1999 to a forecast $560 bn this year.’
      • ‘As Giscard's vision expanded, costs ballooned from $40 million to $70 million to $100 million.’
      • ‘By 2004, the figure is projected to balloon another 28 percent to $372 million.’
      • ‘Its average employee was obese, ballooning health-care costs.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      increase rapidly, soar, rocket, shoot up, escalate, mount, surge, spiral, grow rapidly, rise rapidly
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of a person) increase rapidly and dramatically in weight.
      ‘I had ballooned on the school's starchy diet’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I ballooned out to 96 kg just after Christmas, and whilst I never looked fat, I really didn't look lean either.’
      • ‘With his weight ballooning, he began working in the livery yard of former jockey, the late Anthony Powell.’
      • ‘I unwrapped the towels to discover my baby had ballooned up nicely.’
      • ‘Put me in front of the most delicious buffet in the world, and I will balloon.’
      • ‘I'd ballooned to about a size 28/30 (from Evans too) on my bum and I was about a size 26 in blouses.’
      • ‘She had ballooned up a good thirty pounds; her ankles were swollen and just carrying around her huge stomach made her ill.’
      • ‘In the final days of Whitepaws' confinement, when her abdomen ballooned out beneath her, she abruptly abandoned the new premises.’
      • ‘Sadly he was put down when liver disease saw him balloon to twice his size.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She freely told Stevenson her figure had ballooned after she stopped taking a dietary supplement.’
      • ‘Add to that the fact that during this period she had ballooned to an unhealthy 290 pounds.’
      • ‘By the time I turned 31, I had ballooned to 252 pounds.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Jeffries had ballooned up to 300 lbs during his retirement and training was not easy anymore for a 35-year-old man.’
      • ‘At eight, two years after the birth of his half-sister, his mother had ballooned into a blimp.’
      • ‘The word on the street is that he has ballooned up like a float in New York's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Zellweger again ballooned to a size 14 for the plump part by bingeing on pizza and shunning all exercise.’
  • 2Travel 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He recently completed a commission of a walking stick topped with a hot air balloon for a man who was keen on 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Knapp had been impressed by balloon rallies in the past, but thought it would be too difficult to start ballooning himself.’

adjective

  • Resembling a balloon; puffed.

    ‘a flouncy balloon curtain’
    • ‘Zeller created a luxurious European suite in one of the bedrooms with toile wall covering, balloon drapes and a wrought-iron headboard.’
    • ‘A cozy knit tunic is styled with a round neckline with trim and short balloon sleeve.’
    • ‘There were silky balloon sleeve blouses and blouson jackets, with emphasised shoulders all beautifully printed art nouveau style.’

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

/bəˈlo͞on//bəˈlun/