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Webster's Dictionary 1828 - Online Edition

Webster's Dictionary 1828

Americal Dictionary of the English Language

American Dictionary
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Balance

BAL'ANCE, noun [Latin bilanx, bis, twice, and lanz, a dish, the double dish.]

1. A pair of scales, for weighing commodities. It consists of a beam or lever suspended exactly in the middle, with a scale or basin hung to each extremity, of precisely equal weight.

The Roman balance our steel-yard, consists of a lever or beam, movable on a center, and suspended near one of its extremities. Hence,

2. One of the simple powers in mechanics, used for determining the equality or difference of weight in heavy bodies, and consequently their masses or quantity of matter.

3. Figuratively, an impartial state of the mind, in deliberating; or a just estimate of the reasons and arguments on

both sides of a question, which gives to each its due weight, or force and importance.

4. As balance signifies equal weight, or equality, it is by custom used for the weight or sum necessary to make two unequal weights or sums equal; that which is necessary to bring them to a balance or equipoise. Hence, in accounts, balance is the difference of two sums; as upon an adjustment of accounts, a balance was found against A, in favor of B. Hence, to pay a balance is to pay the difference and make the two accounts equal.

5. balance of trade is an equal exportation of domestic productions, and importation of foreign. But, usually, the term is applied to the difference between the amount or value of the commodities exported and imported. Hence the common expression, the balance of trade is against or in favor of a country.

6. Equipoise, or an equal state of power between nations; as the 'balance of power.'

7. Equipoise, or an equal state of the passions.

The balance of the mind.

8. That which renders weight or authority equal.

The only balance attempted against the ancient kings, was a body of nobles.

9. The part of a clock or watch which regulates the beats.

10. In astronomy, a sign in the zodiac, called in Latin Libra, which the sun enters at the equinox in September.

The hydrostatic balance is an instrument to determine the specific gravity of fluid and solid bodies.

The assay balance is one which is used in docimastic operations, to determine the weight of minute bodies.

BAL'ANCE, verb transitive To adjust the weights in the scales of a balance so as to bring them to an equipoise. Hence,

2. To weigh reasons; to compare, by estimating the relative force, importance, or value of different things; as, to balance good and evil.

3. To regulate different powers, so as to keep them in a state of just proportion; as, to balance Europe, or the powers of Europe.

4. To counterpoise; to make of equal weight or force; to make equipollent; as, one species of attraction balances another.

One expression in the letter check and balance another.

5. To settle and adjust, as an account; to find the difference of two accounts, and to pay the balance or difference, and make them equal.

6. In seamanship, to contract a sail, by rolling up a small part of it at one corner.

BAL'ANCE, verb intransitive To have on each side equal weight; to be on a poise.

2. To hesitate; to fluctuate between motives which appear of equal force, as a balance plays when poised by equal weights.

Between right and wrong, never balance a moment.