Meaning of BALLAST in English


I. ˈbaləst noun

( -s )

Etymology: probably from Low German, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Danish & Swedish barlast, literally, mere load, from bar bare (from Old Danish & Old Swedish) + last load, from Middle Low German; akin to Old Norse berr bare and to Old High German hlast load — more at bare , last

1. : a relatively heavy substance used to maintain a ship at its proper draft or trim or to improve its stability (as rock stowed in holds or water in tanks)

2. : something that gives stability or weight especially in character, conduct, ideas, or morals

it is profitable for cultures to carry a considerable degree of ballast in the shape of consistency and continuity — A.L.Kroeber

3. : something heavy (as sand or water) put into the car of a balloon to be thrown out if necessary to reduce the load


a. : gravel or broken stone laid in a roadbed especially of a railroad to provide a firm surface for the track, to hold the track in line, and to facilitate drainage

b. : the larger solids (as broken stone or gravel) used in making concrete — compare aggregate III 3b

5. : a resistance used to stabilize the current in a circuit (as of an arc lamp, a mercury-vapor lamp, or a fluorescent lamp)

6. : roughage

- in ballast

II. transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

1. : to steady or equip with ballast

ballast a canoe with large rocks

2. archaic : weight down : burden , load


a. : to steady or stabilize in mind, morals, or conduct

a little security to ballast your life

b. : to act as a counterpoise to

some common sense to ballast the general flightiness of the group

4. : to fill in (as a railroad bed) with ballast

Synonyms: see stabilize

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.