balky

adjective

ˈbȯ-kē How to pronounce balky (audio)
 sometimes  ˈbȯl-
balkier; balkiest
: refusing or likely to refuse to proceed, act, or function as directed or expected
a balky mule
a balky engine
balkiness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for balky

contrary, perverse, restive, balky, wayward mean inclined to resist authority or control.

contrary implies a temperamental unwillingness to accept orders or advice.

a contrary child

perverse may imply wrongheaded, determined, or cranky opposition to what is reasonable or normal.

a perverse, intractable critic

restive suggests unwillingness or inability to submit to discipline or follow orders.

tired soldiers growing restive

balky suggests a refusing to proceed in a desired direction or course of action.

a balky witness

wayward suggests strong-willed capriciousness and irregularity in behavior.

a school for wayward youths

Example Sentences

a balky toddler who only seemed to know the word “no” when told to do something
Recent Examples on the Web Nonetheless, suspicion that Dominion had managed to wirelessly access a balky scanner in Coffee County supercharged concerns that someone could have rigged the election results. Emma Brown And Jon Swaine, Anchorage Daily News, 28 Oct. 2022 Many days, Martinez’s routine is not so different from the rest of his teammates, starting with early morning practices and plenty of time in the training room to treat a balky hip and elbow. Greg Luca, San Antonio Express-News, 22 Sep. 2022 Picked off three times and buried for minus-49 yards on those seven sacks, this wasn't the way the Rams QB should be nursing a balky elbow – though his arm looked just fine. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 9 Sep. 2022 Granted, most of them also weren’t as talented as Buehler, a two-time All-Star who has a 3.02 career ERA despite 12 inconsistent starts this year that might have been impacted by his balky elbow. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, 5 Sep. 2022 Running backs Jonathan Taylor and Phillip Lindsay also dropped passes in the same 7-on-7 session as Pierce's drop, getting the practice off to a balky start. The Indianapolis Star, 28 July 2022 For Boston, Marcus Smart has had a balky ankle, Robert Williams III’s knee is an ongoing question and Jaylen Brown banged a knee on a drive in Game 5, though finished the game with no obvious ill effects. Tim Reynolds, Hartford Courant, 28 May 2022 For Boston, Marcus Smart’s ankle has been balky, Robert Williams III’s knee is an ongoing question and Jaylen Brown banged a knee on a drive in Game 5 though finished the game with no obvious ill effects. Tim Bielik, cleveland, 29 May 2022 For Boston, Marcus Smart’s ankle has been balky, Robert Williams III’s knee is an ongoing question and Jaylen Brown banged a knee on a drive in Game 5 though finished the game with no obvious ill effects. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 29 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'balky.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1831, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of balky was in 1831

Dictionary Entries Near balky

Cite this Entry

“Balky.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/balky. Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

balkier; balkiest
: likely to refuse to act or function as directed or expected
a balky mule
a balky engine

More from Merriam-Webster on balky

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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