Recorded since 1579 for "aromatic resin used for healing wounds and soothing pains", from Latin balsamum (also the root of balm via Old French basme, modern baume), itself from Ancient Greek βάλσαμον (balsamon), “‘balsam’”)," from Hebrew (basam) "spice", related to Arameic busma, Arabic (basham) "balsam, spice, perfume". There is an isolated Old English reference from c.1000. As a type of flowering plant of the Balsaminaceae or Impatiens family, it is attested from 1741.
NounModificarBalsam (countable and uncountable; plural Balsams)
- A sweet-smelling oil or resin derived from various plants.
- A plant or tree yielding such substance.
- A soothing ointment.
- (figuratively) Something soothing.
- Classical music is a sweet balsam for our sorrows
- A flowering plant of the genus Impatiens.
- A balsam fir.
- Canada balsam, a turpentine obtained from the resin of balsam fir.
- (sweet-smelling oil): balm
- (plant or tree): balm
- (soothing ointment): balm
- (something soothing): balm
- (flowering plant of the genus Impatiens): jewelweed, impatiens, touch-me-not
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