any light, simple song, especially one of sentimental or romantic character, having two or more stanzas all sung to the same melody.
a simple narrative poem of folk origin, composed in short stanzas and adapted for singing.
any poem written in similar style.
the music for a ballad.
a sentimental or romantic popular song.
Contemporary Examples

And it was a radical part of your tool set, throwing it into a ballad, which was also a canonized jazz standard.
Herbie Hancock Holds Forth David Yaffe November 7, 2014

An aspiring composer [could] write an ‘Ode to Oberlin’ or a budding poet pen ‘The ballad of Barnard.’
Dirty Secrets of College Waitlists Kathleen Kingsbury March 29, 2009

Michelle Cottle on the ballad of Johnny and Rielle—and the lessons we can all learn from their torrid affair.
What You Can Learn From John Edwards and Rielle Hunter Michelle Cottle June 26, 2012

And on to the ballad of the Hanging Chads and the Lieutenant Goes Wind Surfing.
The Capital Goes Nuts Simon Schama November 5, 2008

There were no longer any chord changes, and it was no longer a ballad.
Herbie Hancock Holds Forth David Yaffe November 7, 2014

Historical Examples

But the said number is a ballad number, and has been since the antique time.
The Amazing Marriage, Complete George Meredith

The hint of this ballad is found in Arndt’s Murchen, Berlin, 1816.
The Works of Whittier, Volume I (of VII) John Greenleaf Whittier

It was an Oriental ballad all about poniards, flowers, and stars.
Sentimental Education Vol 1 Gustave Flaubert

On the present occasion, I was prepared with a ballad of his.
Ranald Bannerman’s Boyhood George MacDonald

He relates battles and skirmishes as from an eyewitness, when his eyes thievishly beguiled a ballad of them.
Character Writings of the 17th Century Various

a narrative song with a recurrent refrain
a narrative poem in short stanzas of popular origin, originally sung to a repeated tune
a slow sentimental song, esp a pop song

late 15c., from French ballade “dancing song” (13c.), from Old Provençal ballada “(poem for a) dance,” from balar “to dance,” from Late Latin ballare “to dance” (see ball (n.2)).

A simple narrative song, or a narrative poem suitable for singing. The ballad usually has a short stanza, such as:

There are twelve months in all the year,
As I hear many men say,
But the merriest month in all the year
Is the merry month of May.

A simple narrative song, or, alternatively, a narrative poem suitable for singing. (See under “Conventions of Written English.”)


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