Etymology
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ballast (n.)

"heavy material used to steady a ship," 1520s, from Middle English bar "bare" (see bare (adj.); in this case "mere") + last "a load, burden," from Proto-Germanic *hlasta-, from PIE root *klā- "to spread out flat" (see lade). Or borrowed from identical terms in North Sea Germanic and Scandinavian (compare Old Danish barlast, 14c.). "Mere" because not carried for commercial purposes. Dutch balg-last "ballast," literally "belly-load," is a folk-etymology corruption.

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Definitions of ballast
1
ballast (n.)
any heavy material used to stabilize a ship or airship;
ballast (n.)
coarse gravel laid to form a bed for streets and railroads;
ballast (n.)
an attribute that tends to give stability in character and morals; something that steadies the mind or feelings;
ballast (n.)
a resistor inserted into a circuit to compensate for changes (as those arising from temperature fluctuations);
Synonyms: ballast resistor / barretter
ballast (n.)
an electrical device for starting and regulating fluorescent and discharge lamps;
Synonyms: light ballast
2
ballast (v.)
make steady with a ballast;
From wordnet.princeton.edu