balk

noun
\ ˈbȯk, sometimes ˈbȯlk How to pronounce balk (audio) \

Definition of balk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a ridge of land left unplowed as a dividing line or through carelessness
2 : beam, rafter

4 billiards

a : the space behind the balkline on a billiard table
b : any of the outside divisions made by the balklines
5a sports : failure of a competitor to complete a motion (such as a jump, vault, or dive)
b baseball : an occurrence in which a pitcher stops suddenly or makes an illegal movement after starting to throw a pitch The pitcher was charged with a balk.

balk

verb
balked; balking; balks

Definition of balk (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 archaic : to pass over or by … such an age as ours balks no expense …— William Cowper
2 : to check or stop by or as if by an obstacle : block … had neither been balked nor been frightened …— Francis Hackett

intransitive verb

1 : to stop short and refuse to proceed The horse balked at the jump and threw the rider.
2 : to refuse abruptly used with at Congress balked at putting up the money— Thomas Fleming
3 sports : to commit a balk (see balk entry 1 sense 5)

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Other Words from balk

Verb

balker noun

Choose the Right Synonym for balk

Verb

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

Examples of balk in a Sentence

Noun

the extravagant centerpiece proved to be a balk to the flow of conversation

Verb

The horse balked and would not jump the fence. The runner on third base tried to make the pitcher balk.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Rangers lost Sunday after a balk on Keone Kela was called only after Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch brought it to the umpires' attention. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Rangers Reaction: Things get weird for Rangers at home plate," 14 June 2018 Reliever Miguel Castro allowed another run to score that inning on his major league-leading third balk of the season. Eduardo A. Encina, baltimoresun.com, "Orioles rookie David Hess schooled by Red Sox in 6-4 loss," 12 June 2018 Friends admire our shoestring opulence, but many balk at the thought of following in our footsteps. Eric Brende, WSJ, "How to Beat the High Cost of Working," 31 Aug. 2018 But even some farmers who have invested heavily in new technology balk at the idea of paying for more. Drew Harwell, chicagotribune.com, "'Cow Fitbits' and artificial intelligence are coming to the dairy farm, but some farmers aren't impressed," 5 Apr. 2018 Silver Creek added three more runs in the bottom of the third inning as the Dragons took advantage of several Indian Creek miscues, including two errors, a walk and a balk. Kenzie Winstead, The Courier-Journal, "Silver Creek baseball team advances to state for first time," 9 June 2018 That probably describes cheapskates, who likely balk at paying finance charges for carrying a balance. Gregory Karp, The Seattle Times, "A cheapskate’s guide to shopping for credit cards," 16 Oct. 2018 Josh Jung singled, then moved second when Singer balked — the first time in four years a CWS game featured two balks. Mike Malloy, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Gators struggle early, fall to Texas Tech in CWS opener," 18 June 2018 After pinch hitter Wilmer Difo executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to push Taylor to third, Bradley inexplicably got charged with a balk while facing Andrew Stevenson. Bob Mcmanaman, azcentral, "Archie Bradley's balk spoils a do-everything night by Zack Greinke as Diamondbacks lose," 10 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

However, four Republicans balked at the proposal and voted against it. Glamour, "Politician Votes Against Access to Pads and Tampons in Prison Because It’s Not ‘a Country Club’," 20 Mar. 2019 Democrats also have balked at wall funding, calling what Mr. Trump has proposed an ineffective way to protect the border. Natalie Andrews, WSJ, "White House, Democrats Float Proposals to End Shutdown, but Wide Gaps Remain," 20 Jan. 2019 The Olympic Council of Asia, which governs the games, reportedly balked at including bridge, which in the eyes of some is linked with card games such as poker, black jack — and hence, gambling. Stephen Wade, Fox News, "Playing bridge at the Asian Games: 'Athletics of the mind'," 22 Aug. 2018 Other die-hard members balk at the idea of toning down their public protest (like leaving guns and swastika flags at home, as one post suggests to attendees). Jane Coaston, Vox, "The alt-right is debating whether to try to look less like Nazis," 10 Aug. 2018 Baker last year also balked at business assessments without savings-minded reforms, but ultimately agreed to those assessments. Michael P. Norton, BostonGlobe.com, "Beacon Hill lawmakers approve health care reform legislation," 20 June 2018 Similar end runs are being attempted in Nebraska and Utah, states Trump carried, where GOP lawmakers have also balked at extending coverage under the law. Mark Z. Barabak, latimes.com, "Obamacare used to be political poison for Democrats. Now they see it as a winning prescription — even in red states," 11 June 2018 Many jurors also balk at sending a defendant to a mental hospital rather than prison, fearing he might eventually be released on a doctor’s recommendation. James C. Mckinley Jr. And Jan Ransom, New York Times, "Nanny Faces Tough Insanity Test: Did She Know Killing Was Wrong?," 27 Mar. 2018 Bonura and Floyd also balked at the $10,000 relocation stipend included in the contract. Littice Bacon-blood, NOLA.com, "New Jefferson schools superintendent $269,000 salary approved," 13 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'balk.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of balk

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for balk

Noun and Verb

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

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Statistics for balk

Last Updated

19 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for balk

The first known use of balk was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for balk

balk

noun

English Language Learners Definition of balk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

balk

verb

English Language Learners Definition of balk (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

balk

verb
\ ˈbȯk How to pronounce balk (audio) \
balked; balking

Kids Definition of balk

1 : to stop short and refuse to go
2 : to refuse to do something often suddenly He balked at paying the bill.

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More from Merriam-Webster on balk

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with balk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for balk

Spanish Central: Translation of balk

Nglish: Translation of balk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of balk for Arabic Speakers

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