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

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 Yu Darvish allowed himself to be rattled by a balk. David Haugh, chicagotribune.com, "When it comes to conclusions on the Cubs after 15 games, best to avoid extremes," 18 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Despite presenting clinical data that impressed scientists and physicians, Regeneron’s treatment has fallen behind sales estimates as payers have balked at its $37,000-a-year list price. Damian Garde, STAT, "Amgen’s new migraine drug will cost 30 percent less than Wall Street expected," 17 May 2018 Smartphone sales fell 3 percent in the March quarter compared with a year earlier, as consumers in developed countries such as the U.S. and China balk at upgrading to more expense phones. Mike Freeman, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Smartphone sales remain sluggish as consumers put off upgrades," 3 May 2018 What comes through is that Armstrong never balked at sharing a kind word or spending time with people who wanted to meet him, had questions, or wrote to him. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "First Man is a first-rate movie about America’s most revered astronaut," 12 Oct. 2018 What caused many observers to balk was that the proportion of conservative accounts that were affected seemed to be very high, and some of the affected accounts belonged to Republican members of Congress. Aja Romano, Vox, "How hysteria over Twitter shadow-banning led to a bizarre congressional hearing," 6 Sep. 2018 Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross insisted last week that the Trump team won’t balk from its trade push in the event of a steep stock sell-off. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Stock market shrugs off Trump's trade war," 10 July 2018 Sephora: While the beauty giant isn't having an official 4th of July sale, its Weekly Wow deals series this week is nothing to balk at. Rachel Nussbaum, Glamour, "The Best 4th of July 2018 Beauty Sales Worth Shopping," 3 July 2018 People forget that Kaepernick isn’t the first to balk at standing during the anthem. Nina Mandell, For The Win, "Shaq told ex-teammate who protested during national anthem in 1996: 'That's tripping'," 21 June 2018 Pedro Baez stole the spotlight by falling off the mound to balk in a run, but Cingrani was charged with four runs during a seventh-inning collapse. Andy Mccullough, latimes.com, "Dodgers reliever Tony Cingrani dealing with 'dead arm'," 28 Apr. 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

22 Mar 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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