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

After a Wissman single in the third made it 2-0, Gilmour Academy sophomore Vinny Bandwen scored from third in the bottom of inning on a balk by Eagles pitcher Sebastian Gongora. cleveland.com, "Gilmour Academy falls 4-2 to top-seed Dayton Chaminade Julienne in Div. II state baseball championship," 9 June 2019 Toglia led off with a walk and advanced to third on a balk and passed ball. Avi Sholkoff, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan falls to UCLA, 5-4, in 12 inn.; trip to College World Series decided today," 9 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But when the time came to pay up, the landlord balked. Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star, "Getting a seller to make good on a bad pony deal and 4 more IndyStar Call for Action success stories," 10 June 2019 But the Taoiseach’s office balked and proposed a more historic site before settling on Shannon. Washington Post, "Trump, Irish prime minister differ on Brexit, meeting venue," 6 June 2019 But officials at China’s legislature balked at changing the law to allow foreign judges to sit in the new court. The Economist, "A belt-and-road court dreams of rivalling the West’s tribunals," 6 June 2019 While the house has many touches that evoke an earlier era, Branca balks at being considered a mere revivalist or re-creator of history. Nancy Hass, ELLE Decor, "Alessandra Branca Designs an Ultra-Luxe 1910s Mansion on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive," 29 May 2019 Once upon a time, Franzen balked at going on television and accepting Oprah Winfrey’s imprimatur. Christian Lorentzen, Harper's magazine, "Like This or Die," 10 Apr. 2019 Democratic lawmakers supported the back pay, but the White House balked at it. Peter Nicholas, WSJ, "Border-Security Funding Deal Nears a Vote," 14 Feb. 2019 Democrats will balk if Republicans incinerate not one but two spending pacts. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Trump, GOP plan to rescind budget spending has precedent but rocky path in Congress," 2 Oct. 2018 While that's understandable, some will balk at spending hundreds on a watch that doesn't have a feature that's crucial to many athletes. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Polar’s new Vantage V and M smartwatches are its most attractive yet," 13 Sep. 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

14 Jun 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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