balance late 13c., "apparatus for weighing," from . balance (12c.) "balance, scales for weighing," also in the figurative sense; from . bilancia, from . bilanx (acc. bilancem), from L. (libra) bilanx "(scale) having two pans," possibly from L. bis "twice" + lanx "dish, plate, scale of a balance." The accounting sense is from 1580s; the meaning "general harmony between parts" is from 1732; sense of "physical equipoise" is from 1660s. The verb is attested from 1570s. Balance of power in the geopolitical sense is from 1701; balanced meal, diet, etc. is from 1908.