Tourists who flock from Minnesota to Florida in the wintertime are hoping for balmy weather — that is, those frosty Midwesterners are trading mountains of snow and freezing winds for warm sun and gentle breezes.

ChapStick and nice weather might not seem to have much in common, but consider this: Both are soothing and restorative. The adjective balmy is, indeed, related to the noun balm (as in “lip balm”) and both share a wonderfully rich etymology: Balm made its way from Hebrew to English via Greek, Latin, and Old French. Just as the noun is used in the names of aromatic unguents and plants with healing properties, the adjective balmy is used to describe weather so pleasant that it’s positively therapeutic.

Definitions of balmy
  1. adjective

    mild and pleasant

    balmy days and nights”
    mild, soft


    (of weather or climate) physically mild
  2. adjective

    informal or slang terms for mentally irregular

    “it used to drive my husband
    around the bend, barmy, bats, batty, bonkers, buggy, cracked, crackers, daft, dotty, fruity, haywire, kookie, kooky, loco, loony, loopy, nuts, nutty, round the bend, wacky, whacky


    afflicted with or characteristic of mental derangement

Word Family