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Definition: To dance artlessly, usually without practiced form or skill, but always with great, contented enjoyment. (Also, strangely enough, could sometimes mean “to stick together”.)

Pronunciation: ball-TUR


Dubious at best, “balter” is known to be a Middle English word, but the exact genesis and evolution of this term is considered unknown.

Why this word?

When someone asks me if I’ve ever been to instruction to learn how to dance, I always say “No, but I’ve watched reruns of Soul Train.”

I love to dance. I really do. Never been to a class, and I don’t practice my “skills” any more than it takes to try and copy the movements in a video on YouTube. I know I’m not wildly good by any measure, but still I continue.

Humans are viscerally attached to music. The way a song makes us feel, from the profundity of its lyrics to the way its beat makes us move; music is a very intimate experience. It’s alright to suggest a song or a musician to another person and tell them all about how that band or that ballad makes you feel, really insisting “this guy, man, I’m telling you; just– This band, y’know? You need to,” and not making very much sense, but no matter how much you crow over the music that stirs you, it will always stir only You– until the other person is in the right place at the right time to be open enough to Get It, Too.

Adoring what we hear to such an emotional degree makes those jerky, mindless swayings we move our bodies into as response just as sincere and lovely as the messages we feel we’re receiving in our favorite songs.

(Even if we all look like an excitable land squid or giraffe with equilibrium problems when we thoughtlessly dance from our core.)

How do you use this word in a sentence?

“Their children were barefoot and sunkissed and mostly stayed half-naked, and baltered everywhere they went.”


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Written by Veronica Jacobs

Veronica Jacobs is a fiction writer, blogger, academic editor, and sci-fi enthusiast. Currently working freelance (with a background in English Literature), she spends most of her time writing.


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