Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


She had ballooned her bust and hour-glassed her waist according to the fashion of the day.

It ballooned slowly out like a gigantic genie rising from a fisherman's bottle.

Then, quite suddenly, a pale violet disc in front of them ballooned out of nowhere and slid off to one side.

Miss Cherrie smiled graciously, made them a bow that ballooned her silk skirt over the whole sidewalk, and sailed on.

His sleeves and shoulders were ballooned after the German fashion, his sword clanked on the tiles.

They ballooned out, swelling to the wind, and the galeasse surged forward at a speed that was more than doubled.


1570s, "a game played with a large inflated leather ball," from Italian pallone "large ball," from palla "ball," from a Germanic source akin to Langobardic palla (from Proto-Germanic *ball-, from PIE *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell;" see bole) + -one, suffix indicating great size.

Perhaps also borrowed in part from French ballon (16c.), altered (after balle) from Italian 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. Also cf. -oon.