a bag made of thin rubber or other light material, usually brightly colored, inflated with air or with some lighter-than-air gas and used as a children's plaything or as a decoration.
a bag made of a light material, as silk or plastic, filled with heated air or a gas lighter than air, designed to rise and float in the atmosphere and often having a car or gondola attached below for carrying passengers or scientific instruments.
(in drawings, cartoons, etc.) a balloon-shaped outline enclosing words represented as issuing from the mouth of the speaker.
an ornamental ball at the top of a pillar, pier, or the like.
a large, globular wineglass.
Chemistry Now Rare. a round-bottomed flask.
verb (used without object)
to go up or ride in a balloon.
to swell or puff out like a balloon.
to multiply or increase at a rapid rate: Membership has ballooned beyond all expectations.
verb (used with object)
to fill with air; inflate or distend (something) like a balloon.
puffed out like a balloon: balloon sleeves.
Finance. (of a loan, mortgage, or the like) having a payment at the end of the term that is much bigger than previous ones.

1570–80; < Upper Italian ballone, equivalent to ball(a) (< Langobardic; see ball1) + -one augmentative suffix; or < Middle French ballon < Upper Italian

balloonlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
balloon (bəˈluːn)
1.  an inflatable rubber bag of various sizes, shapes, and colours: usually used as a plaything or party decoration
2.  barrage balloon See also hot-air balloon a large impermeable bag inflated with a lighter-than-air gas, designed to rise and float in the atmosphere. It may have a basket or gondola for carrying passengers, etc
3.  a circular or elliptical figure containing the words or thoughts of a character in a cartoon
4.  (Brit)
 a.  a kick or stroke that propels a ball high into the air
 b.  (as modifier): a balloon shot
5.  chem a round-bottomed flask
6.  a large rounded brandy glass
7.  commerce
 a.  a large sum paid as an irregular instalment of a loan repayment
 b.  (as modifier): a balloon loan
8.  surgery
 a.  an inflatable plastic tube used for dilating obstructed blood vessels or parts of the alimentary canal
 b.  (as modifier): balloon angioplasty
9.  informal go down like a lead balloon to be completely unsuccessful or unpopular
10.  informal when the balloon goes up when the trouble or action begins
11.  (intr) to go up or fly in a balloon
12.  (intr) to increase or expand significantly and rapidly: losses ballooned to £278 million
13.  to inflate or be inflated; distend; swell: the wind ballooned the sails
14.  (Brit) (tr) to propel (a ball) high into the air
[C16 (in the sense: ball, ball game): from Italian dialect ballone, from balla, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German ballaball1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1570s, "a game played with a large inflated leather ball," from It. pallone "large ball," from palla "ball," from Langobardic palla (from P.Gmc. *ball-, from PIE *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell;" see bole) + -one, suffix indicating great size. Perhaps borrowed in part from Fr. ballon
(16c.), altered (after balle) from It. pallone. It also meant the ball itself (1590s), which was batted back and forth by means of large wooden paddles strapped to the forearms. In 17c., it also meant "a type of fireworks housed in a pasteboard ball" (1630s) and "round ball used as an architectural ornament" (1650s). Acquired modern meaning after Montgolfier brothers' flights, 1783. As a child's toy, it is attested from 1848; as "outline containing words in a comic engraving" it dates from 1844. The verb meaning "to swell, puff up" is attested from 1841. Trial balloon is congnate of French ballon d'essai.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

balloon bal·loon (bə-lōōn')
An inflatable spherical device that is inserted into a body cavity or structure and distended with air or gas for therapeutic purposes.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
Over the years his birthday gifts have sent him parasailing, on hot air
  balloons rides, and zip-lining through canyons.
And the image of me on a segway chasing around the beach going after balloons
  and moles is somewhat priceless.
My childhood chemistry fun initially involved vinegar and baking soda, coke
  bottles and balloons.
These balloons continued to rack up records for long-duration flights.
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