Pronunciation: (bôl'sum), [key]
1. any of various fragrant exudations from certain trees, esp. trees of the genus Commiphora, as balm-of-Gilead. Cf. balm (def. 1).
2. the similar products yielded by the leguminous trees Myroxylon pereirae and M. balsamum, of South America. Cf. Peru balsam, tolu.
3. oleoresin (def. 1).
4. any of certain transparent turpentines, as Canada balsam.
5. a plant or tree yielding a balsam.
6. See balsam fir.
7. any of several plants belonging to the genus Impatiens, as I. balsamina, a common garden annual. Cf. balsam family.
8. any aromatic ointment for ceremonial or medicinal use.
9. any agency that heals, soothes, or restores: the balsam of understanding and appreciation.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.