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balata

[buh-lah-tuh, bal-uh-tuh] /bəˈlɑ tə, ˈbæl ə tə/
noun
1.
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.
2.
a tree, Mimusops balata, of Madagascar.
Origin
1855-1860
1855-60; < American Spanish < Carib
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for balata

balata

/ˈbælətə/
noun
1.
a tropical American sapotaceous tree, Manilkara bidentata, yielding a latex-like sap
2.
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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Encyclopedia Article for balata

hard rubberlike material made by drying the milky juice produced principally by the bully tree (species Manilkara bidentata) of Guyana and the West Indies. The tree is tapped by cutting zigzag gashes in the bark and collecting the latex in cups, to be coagulated in trays. Like gutta-percha, balata is inelastic, tough, leathery, and water-resistant, and it softens when heated. It is often used as a substitute for the more expensive gutta-percha, chiefly in the manufacture of golf balls and machine belting.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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