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[buh-lah-tuh, bal-uh-tuh] /bəˈlɑ tə, ˈbæl ə tə/
a nonelastic, rubberlike, water-resistant gum that softens in hot water and is obtained from the latex of a tropical American tree, Manilkara bidentata: used chiefly in the manufacture of machinery belts, golf ball covers, and as a substitute for gutta percha.
Compare bully tree.
a tree, Mimusops balata, of Madagascar.
Origin of balata
1855-60; < American Spanish < Carib Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for balata
Historical Examples
  • balata bands may be used in place of india-rubber, but though less expensive are not so lasting.

  • Actually, he knew he could get an easy twenty-five balata for the bauble in Karth.

    The Players Everett B. Cole
  • The properties of balata correspond with its composition, and it may therefore be classed as an inferior gutta percha.

  • Distinct from rubber, but closely akin to it, are the two materials known as gutta-percha and balata.

    Rubber Edith A. Browne
  • balata, a vegetable gum used as a substitute for gutta-percha, being at once ductile and elastic; goes under the name of bully.

    The Nuttall Encyclopaedia Edited by Rev. James Wood
  • Timber is cut, and balata and rubber collected, from crown lands by licences issued from the department of Lands and Mines.

  • Then he makes a dabree, a large tray about half a foot deep, in which balata latex is coagulated.

    Rubber Edith A. Browne
  • At balata it is said that the city gate of ancient Shechem was uncovered.

    Archology and the Bible George A. Barton
  • The joins are dried in the sun, after which the tray is made water-tight with a lining of balata.

    Rubber Edith A. Browne
British Dictionary definitions for balata


a tropical American sapotaceous tree, Manilkara bidentata, yielding a latex-like sap
a rubber-like gum obtained from this sap: used as a substitute for gutta-percha
Word Origin
from American Spanish, of Carib origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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