any of various fragrant exudations from certain trees, especially trees of the genus Commiphora, as balm-of-Gilead. Compare balm ( def 1 ).
the similar products yielded by the leguminous trees Myroxylon pereirae and M. balsamum, of South America. Compare Peru balsam, tolu.
oleoresin ( def 1 ).
any of certain transparent turpentines, as Canada balsam.
a plant or tree yielding a balsam.
any of several plants belonging to the genus Impatiens, as I. balsamina, a common garden annual. Compare balsam family.
any aromatic ointment for ceremonial or medicinal use.
any agency that heals, soothes, or restores: the balsam of understanding and appreciation.

before 1000; Middle English balsamum, balsaum, Old English balzaman < Latin balsamum < Greek bálsamon. See balm

balsamaceous [bawl-suh-mey-shuhs] , adjective
balsamic [bawl-sam-ik] , adjective
balsamy, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
balsam (ˈbɔːlsəm)
1.  any of various fragrant oleoresins, such as balm or tolu, obtained from any of several trees and shrubs and used as a base for medicines and perfumes
2.  any of various similar substances used as medicinal or ceremonial ointments
3.  See also Canada balsam any of certain aromatic resinous turpentines
4.  any plant yielding balsam
5.  Also called: busy Lizzie any of several balsaminaceous plants of the genus Impatiens, esp I. balsamina, cultivated for its brightly coloured flowers
6.  anything healing or soothing
[C15: from Latin balsamum, from Greek balsamon, from Hebrew bāśām spice]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1570s, "aromatic resin used for healing wounds and soothing pains," from L. balsamum "gum of the balsam tree" (see balm). There is an isolated O.E. reference from c.1000. As a type of flowering plant of the Impatiens family, it is attested from 1741.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
balsam   (bôl'səm)  Pronunciation Key 
Any of several aromatic resins that flow from certain plants and that contain considerable amounts of benzoic acid, cinnamic acid, or both, or their esters. Balsams are used in perfumes and medicines.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The tallest native cottonwood, with open crown of erect branches and sticky,
  resinous buds with balsam odor.
Shea butter contains several derivatives of cinnamic acid, a compound common to
  cinnamon and balsam trees.
The decline in moose population allows more balsam fir saplings to live.
Advocates drowning cooking smells for flooding kitchen with scent of new-mown
  hay or balsam, or incense.
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