1

balk

noun \ ˈbȯk , sometimes ˈbȯlk \

Definition of balk

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
5 a 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.

Examples of balk in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples of balk from the Web

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.

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


2

balk

verb

Definition of balk

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 1balk 5)

balker

noun

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.

Recent Examples of balk from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of balk

see 1balk

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 English Language Learners

balk

noun

Definition of balk for English Language Learners

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


balk

verb

Definition of balk for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

balk

verb \ ˈbȯk \

Definition of balk for Students

balked; balking
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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