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noun \ˈbȯk sometimes ˈbȯlk\

Simple Definition of balk

  • baseball : an occurrence in which a pitcher stops suddenly or makes an illegal movement after starting to throw a pitch

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of balk

  1. 1 :  a ridge of land left unplowed as a dividing line or through carelessness

  2. 2 :  beam, rafter

  3. 3 :  hindrance, check

  4. 4 a :  the space behind the balkline on a billiard table b :  any of the outside divisions made by the balklines

  5. 5 :  failure of a player to complete a motion; especially :  an illegal motion of the pitcher in baseball while in position

Examples of balk in a sentence

  1. <the extravagant centerpiece proved to be a balk to the flow of conversation>

Origin and Etymology of balk

Middle English balke, from Old English balca; akin to Old High German balko beam, Latin fulcire to prop, Greek phalanx log, phalanx

First Known Use: before 12th century




Simple Definition of balk

  • : to suddenly show that you do not want to do something : to refuse to do what someone else wants you to do

  • of a horse, mule, etc. : to stop quickly and refuse to continue going

  • of an engine : to fail to work in the usual or expected way

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of balk

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 archaic :  to pass over or by

  3. 2 :  to check or stop by or as if by an obstacle :  block

  4. intransitive verb
  5. 1 :  to stop short and refuse to proceed

  6. 2 :  to refuse abruptly —used with at <Congress balked at putting up the money — Thomas Fleming>

  7. 3 :  to commit a balk in sports



Examples of balk in a sentence

  1. The horse balked and would not jump the fence.

  2. The runner on third base tried to make the pitcher balk.

15th Century

First Known Use of balk

15th century

Synonym Discussion of balk

frustrate, thwart, foil, baffle, balk mean to check or defeat another's plan or block achievement of a goal. frustrate implies making vain or ineffectual all efforts however vigorous or persistent <frustrated attempts at government reform>. thwart suggests frustration or checking by crossing or opposing <the army thwarted his attempt at a coup>. foil implies checking or defeating so as to discourage further effort <foiled by her parents, he stopped trying to see her>. baffle implies frustration by confusing or puzzling <baffled by the maze of rules and regulations>. balk suggests the interposing of obstacles or hindrances <officials felt that legal restrictions had balked their efforts to control crime>.

BALK Defined for Kids


verb \ˈbȯk\

Definition of balk for Students



  1. 1 :  to stop short and refuse to go

  2. 2 :  to refuse to do something often suddenly <He balked at paying the bill.>

Seen and Heard

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a dwelling place or home

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