balmy

balmy, barmy
These two words come from two roots, although the lines of descent have become intertwined: balmy (meaning ‘deliciously fragrant’) comes from balm (see the entry above) and barmy (as now used colloquially, meaning ‘stupid’) comes from barm, meaning ‘froth’. However, barmy is an altered form of balmy, which also had the colloquial meaning in the 19c and early 20c. Consequently they may be regarded as spelling variants; but current usage favours the distinction given above. Since the 1980s the expression barmy army has been used informally to describe groups of political fanatics and, by extension, jingoistic sports supporters (especially of the English cricket team) and others:

• We've had what feels like 900 years of Blair's barmy army now so we know how the system works —weblog, NewZE 2005 [OEC].


Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Balmy — Balm y, a. 1. Having the qualities of balm; odoriferous; aromatic; assuaging; soothing; refreshing; mild; as, balmy weather. The balmy breeze. Tickell. [1913 Webster] Tired nature s sweet restorer, balmy sleep! Young. [1913 Webster] 2. Producing… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • balmy — [adj1] comfortable with respect to weather mild, moderate, moist, pleasant, refreshing, summerlike, summery, temperate, tropical; concepts 603,605 Ant. cool, inclement, wintery balmy [adj2] insane absurd, bugged out*, cracked*, crazed, crazy,… …   New thesaurus

  • balmy — [bäm′ē; ] occas. [ bäl′mē] adj. balmier, balmiest 1. having the qualities of balm; soothing, mild, pleasant, etc. [a balmy day] 2. [var. of BARMY] [Slang, Chiefly Brit.] Chiefly Brit. Slang crazy or foolish balmily adv. balminess n …   English World dictionary

  • balmy — index medicinal, placid, remedial Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • balmy — c.1500, delicately fragrant, from BALM (Cf. balm) + Y (Cf. y) (2). Figurative use for soothing dates from c.1600; of breezes, air, etc. mild, fragrant (combining both earlier senses) it is first attested 1704. Meaning weak minded, idiotic, 1851,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • balmy — 1 aromatic, fragrant, *odorous, redolent Analogous words: refreshing, restoring, rejuvenating (see RENEW): pleasing, grateful, welcome, *pleasant Antonyms: rank, noisome Contrasted words: *malodorous, fetid, stinking, fusty, musty, putrid 2 * …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • balmy — ► ADJECTIVE (balmier, balmiest) ▪ (of the weather) pleasantly warm …   English terms dictionary

  • Balmy — Coralie Balmy Persönliche Informationen Name: Coralie Balmy Nationalität …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • balmy — balmily, adv. balminess, n. /bah mee/, adj., balmier, balmiest. 1. mild and refreshing; soft; soothing: balmy weather. 2. having the qualities of balm; aromatic; fragrant: balmy leaves. 3. producing balm: balmy plants; a balmy shrub. 4. Informal …   Universalium

  • balmy — UK [ˈbɑːmɪ] / US [ˈbɑmɪ] adjective Word forms balmy : adjective balmy comparative balmier superlative balmiest warm and pleasant a balmy night balmy weather …   English dictionary

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