balk

verb
\ ˈbȯk How to pronounce balk (audio) , sometimes ˈbȯlk \
balked; balking; balks

Definition of balk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

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

balk

noun

Definition of balk (Entry 2 of 2)

1a 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.
b sports : failure of a competitor to complete a motion (such as a jump, vault, or dive)
2 billiards
a : the space behind the balkline on a billiard table
b : any of the outside divisions made by the balklines
4 : beam, rafter
5 : a ridge of land left unplowed as a dividing line or through carelessness

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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

Verb The horse balked and would not jump the fence. The runner on third base tried to make the pitcher balk. Noun the extravagant centerpiece proved to be a balk to the flow of conversation
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Sales of $4 billion at Pratt & Whitney were down 25% from the first quarter of 2020 as airline customers continued to balk at travel. Stephen Singer, courant.com, "Raytheon Technologies says more people are flying as COVID-19 eases. Pratt & Whitney parent boosts outlook based on military sales and improving commercial air travel.," 27 Apr. 2021 Manchin said President Joe Biden warned him in a phone call that the progressive left in the House might balk if the bill were significantly trimmed. BostonGlobe.com, "Manchin’s votes to make or break Senate reform," 27 Mar. 2021 Customers might balk if a meal itself is priced at $120, though. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, The Arizona Republic, "A minimum wage bump isn't off the table. Why Arizona restaurant leaders clash on the issue," 24 Mar. 2021 That criticism suggests conservative states — unlike liberal New Jersey and other states passing laws on curriculum diversity — may balk at such curricula. Mike Catalini, ajc, "Students lead US push for fuller Black history education," 16 Apr. 2021 That criticism suggests conservative states — unlike liberal New Jersey and other states passing laws on curriculum diversity — may balk at such curricula. NBC News, "Students lead US push for fuller Black history education," 9 Apr. 2021 But progressives may balk at some of the conservative members of the commission. New York Times, "Biden Creating Commission to Study Expanding the Supreme Court," 9 Apr. 2021 That criticism suggests conservative states — unlike liberal New Jersey and other states passing laws on curriculum diversity — may balk at such curricula. Mike Catalini, Star Tribune, "Students lead US push for fuller Black history education," 8 Apr. 2021 That criticism suggests conservative states – unlike liberal New Jersey and other states passing laws on curriculum diversity – may balk at such curricula. Mike Catalini, The Christian Science Monitor, "Students-led push shapes Black history classes in US schools," 8 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun While Miley was blanking the Indians, Zach Plesac did the same to the Reds for eight innings before Cincinnati pushed three runs across in the ninth, helped by closer Emmanuel Clase’s throwing error and a balk. BostonGlobe.com, "Former Red Sox pitcher Wade Miley throws no-hitter in Cleveland," 8 May 2021 While Miley was blanking the Indians, Zach Plesac did the same to the Reds for eight innings before Cincinnati pushed three runs across in the ninth, helped by closer Emmanuel Clase's throwing error and a balk. Tom Withers, ajc, "No, no, no, no: Reds' Miley throws season's 4th no-hitter," 8 May 2021 Former Brewers right-hander Jimmy Nelson was one of the six pitchers the Dodgers trotted out, recording two outs in the seventh with a walk and a balk before Blake Treinen took over. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 3, Dodgers 1: A familiar formula works again: strong pitching, just enough offense and another injury," 30 Apr. 2021 With runners on first and second after a walk, balk and intentional walk, Sal Romano induced a pop-up that India dropped while running to his left behind first base. Bobby Nightengale, The Enquirer, "Cincinnati Reds shut down by Johnny Cueto, end road trip with loss to San Francisco Giants," 14 Apr. 2021 Chris Seng came on to pinch run for Rushing and scored on a balk to give the Cardinals a 5-4 lead. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville earns fourth ACC series win after beating Florida State on Sunday," 12 Apr. 2021 Godley was struck on his right index finger by the ball on that play, which led to his exodus in the fourth after a leadoff walk to Diaz, balk and hit-by-pitch with Chad Wallach batting. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Marlins 6, Brewers 2: One of those days when little went Milwaukee's way, including the umpiring," 28 Apr. 2021 In the seventh inning, Reds second baseman Jonathan India scored the game-tying run after an infield single, a balk, a wild pitch and a single. Charlie Goldsmith, The Enquirer, "Cincinnati Reds fall to San Francisco after the Giants strike late," 14 Apr. 2021 Evan Longoria walked with two outs and went to second on a balk by Sal Romano, so Mike Yastrzemski was intentionally walked to bring up Mauricio Dubón. Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle, "Johnny Cueto exits with lat tightness but Giants finish off series win over Reds," 14 Apr. 2021

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

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5

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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Time Traveler for balk

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for balk

Last Updated

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Balk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/balk. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for balk

balk

verb

English Language Learners Definition of balk

 (Entry 1 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

noun

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

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

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on balk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for balk

Nglish: Translation of balk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of balk for Arabic Speakers

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