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(1) A physical diagnostic technique wherein a flicking motion of the hand or fingers is done to detect and estimate the size of a solid object surrounded by a fluid, such as abdominal organs or tumors not near the surface.

(2) An obsolete physical diagnostic technique on pregnant woman to determine the position of a fetus. This is done by feeling the rebound of the fetus quickly after a sharp tap against the lower segment of the uterus.


Word origin: French, from ballotter, to toss, from Italian ballotta, diminutive of dialectal balla, ball

Related forms: ballottable (adjective)