AskDefine | Define ballast

Dictionary Definition



1 any heavy material used to stabilize a ship or airship
2 coarse gravel laid to form a bed for streets and railroads
3 an attribute that tends to give stability in character and morals; something that steadies the mind or feelings
4 a resistor inserted into a circuit to compensate for changes (as those arising from temperature fluctuations) [syn: ballast resistor, barretter]
5 an electrical device for starting and regulating fluorescent and discharge lamps [syn: light ballast] v : make steady with a ballast

User Contributed Dictionary

see Ballast




  1. Heavy material that is placed in the hold of a ship (or in the gondola of a balloon), to provide stability.
  2. Anything that steadies emotion or the mind.
  3. Coarse gravel or similar material laid to form a bed for roads or railroads.
  4. device used for stabilizing current in an electric circuit ( a tube lamp supply circuit)


heavy material placed in he hold of a vessel
  • Albanian: balast
  • Croatian: balast
  • Finnish: painolasti
  • German: Ballast
  • Italian: zavorra
  • Norwegian: ballast
anything that steadies emotion or mind
material laid to form a bed for a road


  1. To stabilize or load a ship with ballast.
  2. To lay ballast on the bed of a railroad track.


to stabilize a ship with ballast
to lay ballast on the bed of a railway track

Extensive Definition

Ballast may mean:
  • Track ballast, railway track-bed, on which sleepers and track is laid
  • Sailing ballast, ship's ballast, used to weight a ship down
  • Ballast tanks, a device used on ships and submarines and other submersibles to control buoyancy and stability
  • Electrical ballast, used to stabilize the current flow in lamps
  • Water ballast carried aboard an aircraft, for example in gliding to increase speed
ballast in French: Ballast
ballast in Ido: Balasto
ballast in Japanese: バラスト
ballast in Portuguese: Lastro (transporte)
ballast in Ukrainian: Баласт

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

balance, break bulk, break out ballast, clear for action, clear the decks, consideration, counterbalance, counterpoise, counterweight, equipoise, equivalent, firm, firm up, freeze, give-and-take, hold, immobilize, keep, lead, makeweight, nail down, offset, pin down, poise, quid pro quo, retain, sandbag, setoff, shift ballast, shoot ballast, something of value, stabilitate, stabilize, steady, stick, tit for tat, transfix, trim, trim ship, trim up, weigh down, weight, weight down, wing out ballast
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