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

At the same time, lawmakers would balk at the idea of confirming a defense secretary in the middle of an active inspector general investigation. Missy Ryan, The Seattle Times, "White House action on Pentagon nomination to await conclusion of ethics probe," 12 Apr. 2019 Car manufacturers spent two decades balking at the idea, until Cadillac adopted it, and the rest is history. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "32 Women Who’ve Changed Life As We Know It," 31 Mar. 2019 In another possible hurdle for Amazon, pay-TV distributors that currently carry Yankee games—including Altice, Charter Communications Inc., Comcast Corp. and DirecTV—would likely balk at games being carried by the retail and streaming giant as well. Anupreeta Das, WSJ, "Yankees in Talks With Amazon, Sinclair to Bid for YES Sports Network," 28 Dec. 2018 Many of the medicines Dr. Goodsir and his colleagues would have dispensed to sick or injured explorers also contained lead, not to mention arsenic and a few other things the FDA would balk at today. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Strands of hair shed light on doomed 19th-century Arctic expedition," 30 Sep. 2018 Gardner posited that Democrats, many of whom have voiced support for Trump's harder line on trade talks, would balk at the idea of reining him in. Phil Mattingly And Lauren Fox, CNN, "Senate Republicans weigh trade fight with Trump as other options on tariffs fall flat," 6 June 2018 And the only way Trump and his White House could have messed up his VA pick was to select someone who was so broadly unpalatable that even Republicans would balk. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "Trump all but kills Ronny Jackson’s ill-considered VA nomination with one final spectacle," 24 Apr. 2018 Republicans in the House and Senate have balked at the idea of using federal money for the effort. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "Betsy DeVos is reportedly considering letting schools use federal money to arm teachers," 23 Aug. 2018 The president has balked at proposals from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and other lawmakers to add court personnel to help process more immigration cases. Philip Rucker, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump advocates depriving undocumented immigrants of due-process rights," 24 June 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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