Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma
early 13c., "apparatus for weighing," from Old French balance (12c.) "balance, scales for weighing," also in the figurative sense; from Medieval Latin bilancia, from Late Latin bilanx, from Latin (libra) bilanx "(scale) having two pans," possibly from Latin bis "twice" + lanx "dish, plate, scale of a balance." The accounting sense is from 1580s; the meaning "general harmony between parts" is from 1732; sense of "physical equipoise" is from 1660s. Balance of power in the geopolitical sense is from 1701. Many figurative uses are from Middle English image of the scales in the hands of personified Justice, Fortune, Fate, etc.; e.g. hang in the balance (late 14c.).
1570s, "be equal with," from balance (n.). Meaning "bring or keep in equilibrium" is from 1630s; that of "keep oneself in equilibrium" is from 1833. Of accounts, from 1580s. Related: Balanced; balancing. Balanced meal, diet, etc. is from 1908.
balance bal·ance (bāl'əns)
A weighing device, especially one consisting of a rigid beam horizontally suspended by a low-friction support at its center, with identical weighing pans hung at either end, one of which holds an unknown weight while the effective weight in the other is increased by known amounts until the beam is level and motionless.
A state of bodily equilibrium.
The difference in magnitude between opposing forces or influences, such as for bodily parts or organs.
Equality of mass and net electric charge of reacting species on each side of a chemical equation.
occurs in Lev. 19:36 and Isa. 46:6, as the rendering of the Hebrew _kanch'_, which properly means "a reed" or "a cane," then a rod or beam of a balance. This same word is translated "measuring reed" in Ezek. 40:3,5; 42:16-18. There is another Hebrew word, _mozena'yim_, i.e., "two poisers", also so rendered (Dan. 5:27). The balances as represented on the most ancient Egyptian monuments resemble those now in use. A "pair of balances" is a symbol of justice and fair dealing (Job 31:6; Ps. 62:9; Prov. 11:1). The expression denotes great want and scarcity in Rev. 6:5.