= B =
balloonian variable n.
[Commodore users; perh. a deliberate
phonetic mangling of `boolean variable'?] Any variable that
doesn't actually hold or control state, but must nevertheless be
declared, checked, or set. A typical balloonian variable started
out as a flag attached to some environment feature that either
became obsolete or was planned but never implemented.
Compatibility concerns (or politics attached to same) may require
that such a flag be treated as though it were live.
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.