• WordNet 3.6
    • n balsa forest tree of lowland Central America having a strong very light wood; used for making floats and rafts and in crafts
    • n balsa strong lightweight wood of the balsa tree used especially for floats
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Balsa wood is classified as a hard wood
    • n Balsa (Naut) A raft or float, used principally on the Pacific coast of South America.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n balsa The native name of the Ochroma Lagopus, a bombaceous tree common in the forests upon the coasts of tropical America. The wood is very soft and light, and is used for stopping bottles, as well as in the construction of rafts which take its name.
    • n balsa A kind of raft or float much used on the west coast of South America for crossing lakes or rivers, for landing through the surf, and by fishermen. It is there formed of two inflated cylinders of seal-skin or bullock's hide, joined by a sort of platform on which the passengers or goods are placed. In the United States the name is given to two or more inflated cylinders of india-rubber, or long casks of metal or wood, secured together in pairs by a framework, and used as a life-saving raft or for crossing heavy surf. See life-raft.
    • n balsa On Lake Titicaca, an aboriginal flat-bottomed boat or canoe, sometimes capable of conveying as many as 30 persons or a dozen donkeys. It is made of bundles of the totora reed tied together. While the balsa is a very rude and clumsy craft, incapable of speed, it has the advantage of keeping afloat in any circumstances. When small it is propelled by a sail made of the same material; for coasting and as a ferry, poles, an occasional oar, and paddles are used. The Aymará call it yampu.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Sp. or Pg. balsa,


In literature:

The balsas are clumsy, and difficult to paddle.
"Inca Land" by Hiram Bingham
These are rafts made of light balsa wood, so buoyant as to be used in coasting voyages.
"The Andes and the Amazon" by James Orton
The great Balsas river traverses a portion of the state, emptying thence into the Pacific Ocean.
"Mexico" by Charles Reginald Enock
Are there any balsas near at hand?
"Harry Escombe" by Harry Collingwood
At length the Spaniards embarked in twenty balsas, and came in sight of the native squadron.
"The Western World" by W.H.G. Kingston
A canoe formed from the trunk of a large tree, generally cedar or balsa wood.
"The Sailor's Word-Book" by William Henry Smyth
The wider and smoother rivers were crossed on 'balsas,' or rafts with sails.
"The Red True Story Book" by Various
Up betimes upon the morning of our second day on shore, for a drive to the Balsa.
"Kathay: A Cruise in the China Seas" by W. Hastings Macaulay
Some have Balsa Wood bodies.
"How to Tie Flies" by E. C. Gregg
At the shore of the lake, he and his escort stepped upon a balsa, or raft made of rushes, and moved slowly out to the middle.
"The Book of Buried Treasure" by Ralph D. Paine

In news:

Thor Heyerdahl and five crewmen leave Callao, Peru, on a balsa-wood raft.
A favorite among kids is the KidVenture's campus where kids get the chance to build their own model rockets and balsa planes, fly in a high-tech flight simulator and try their hand at flying a control-line model.
Kites , including micro kites (five inches diameter), rotating box kites , shaped kites , and balsa wood gliders, rubber band powered helicopters, parachute balls, and other nostalgic flying toys will be available for sale.
Then I create a model of the building from balsa wood or foam core, and I use silicone to cast a mold from that model.
Building my House of Balsa Schoolyard Spacewalker was great fun.
Seeing the old classics (Legos, pogo sticks, balsa wood gliders, etc ) always provides a pleasant reminder of childhood innocence.

In science:

In Balsa et al. minimise the expectation value (4) with respect to the parameters r and t.
The quantum double well anharmonic oscillator in an external field