One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1An aromatic resinous substance, such as balm, exuded by various trees and shrubs and used as a base for certain fragrances and medical and cosmetic preparations.
ointment, lotion, cream, salve, liniment, embrocation, rub, gel, emollient, unguent, moisturizerView synonyms
- ‘It has a distinctive fragrance with hints of balsam or mint, and is sometimes called mint geranium.’
- ‘The light was joined in a gentle conspiracy with the air itself, which whispered in the leaves above our heads, tinged with a faint scent of balsam.’
- ‘Look for a shampoo with gentle detergents that won't strip natural hair oils, or a product with conditioning agents like protein or balsam to coat hair strands and seal in moisture.’
- ‘Yucca, quince seed, balsam and yarrow are often added to natural styling gels, mousse and hair sprays for their thickening and emulsifying qualities.’
- ‘These included balsam, musk, benzoin, aloeswood, ginger, muslin, thoroughbred Arabian horses, and Chinese porcelain.’
- ‘This tree's balsam scent is most potent when you brush against its extra-long, deep green needles.’
- ‘The Earth flows with sweet milk and wine, and the nectar of the bees; the air is thick with Syrian Myrrh and Pine, the balsam of the trees.’
- ‘Lampblack was also mixed with olive oil or balsam gum to make ink by early peoples, and Egyptians are known to have used lampblack as eyeliner.’
- ‘Copaiba balsam is produced as a rich free-flowing liquid, by various trees of Copaifera species.’
- ‘The scent was evocative of geranium, industrial grade balsam resin and several noxious petrochemicals, one being naphtha.’
- ‘By covering a specimen with transparent balsam, J. Walton was able to peel these films off.’
- ‘All around the two silent watchers on the hill, an immense space spread itself between earth and sky, filled with dusky starlight and a fragrance of balsam and pine-smoke.’
- 1.1 A tree or shrub which yields balsam.
- ‘Their first impact is to bring an aroma of balsam wood, but when they break down they create the lovely vanilla and cinnamon overtones detectable in some brandies.’
- ‘How many millions were spent whittling that piece of wet balsam, I've no idea; it means nothing and invites ridicule.’
- ‘Merler found that A. ostoyae killed mostly subdominant balsam and spruce at this site.’
- ‘The balsam wood gave off a pleasant scent and filled the room with a mellow warmth.’
- ‘Back in the 1950s and 60s, nearly everyone got a balsam pine tree, and they were always asymmetrical and much sparser than today's trees.’
- ‘They have diversified into everything from Christmas trees, balsam wreaths and maple syrup to cabin rentals, fishing and hunting excursions, birdseye and curly maple lumber products, and veneer for Popsicle sticks.’
- ‘The former has aromatic leaves, which smell of balsam or pine, and pale pink flowers’.’
- ‘Though the original homes of most of the wild balsams are the Old World tropics, not much has been done to cultivate this ornamental plant in the country in new areas.’
- ‘These days our rivers are much cleaner but the ever-present balsam is an alien which we could all do without!’
- ‘Barbara favors balsam, as ‘It holds its needles and smells best‘.’
- ‘It tasted fruity, nutty and milky, with a slight tang, but the balsam strip smoothed out the tang with its woodsy flavor.’
- ‘Along with white lights, balsam wreaths, and plastic reindeer, free shipping for online orders is starting to look like a holiday tradition.’
- ‘Whereas in the U.S, though only three species of wild balsam occur, the balsam growers' revenue exceeds $250,000,00 a year.’
2A herbaceous plant cultivated for its flowers, which are typically pink or purple and carried high on the stem.
- ‘The balsam impatiens usually grows as a two- or three-stemmed plant to a height of 2 1/2 feet, with white to dark red flowers tucked into the leaf axils, where they tend to be overshadowed by leaves.’
- ‘To one side the River Seven meandered, thick with willow, purple with balsam and white with convolvulus.’
- ‘The Indian balsam plant is an example of the incredible relationship between the pollinator and the plant.’
- ‘Other imports include the poisonous corncockle from the Mediterranean, the Himalayan balsam and the New Zealand willowherb, an aggressive weed.’
- ‘I bought pots of chrysanthemums, zinnias, asparagus and balsam.’
Old English, via Latin from Greek balsamon.
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