\ ˈbȯ-kē How to pronounce balky (audio) , sometimes ˈbȯl- \
balkier; balkiest

Definition of balky

: refusing or likely to refuse to proceed, act, or function as directed or expected a balky mule a balky engine

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Other Words from balky

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

Examples of balky in a Sentence

a balky toddler who only seemed to know the word “no” when told to do something
Recent Examples on the Web Right guard Kyle Long looks like a shadow of his former self because of a balky hip. David Haugh,, "Column: Bears spin their wheels on offense, while forceful ground games make a comeback around the NFL," 8 Oct. 2019 Bank industry groups said on Tuesday that the Small Business Administration’s systems remained balky and that many lenders were getting locked out after 10 minutes of submitting applications. Alan Rappeport, New York Times, "Treasury Vows to Recoup Virus Relief Aid Claimed by Big Companies," 28 Apr. 2020 That's certainly true of one of heir top playmakers, T.Y. Hilton, who returned from a three-week absence to play limited snaps on a balky calf during Thursday night's 20-17 loss in Houston. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Colts injury update: No setbacks for T.Y. Hilton; Marlon Mack out vs. Titans," 25 Nov. 2019 Sprague had to prove that his elevators were superior to the slow, balky hydraulic elevators that dominated the market. Robert Bryce, Time, "How Electric Elevators Transformed the Modern City," 10 Mar. 2020 Switches that trigger the organ’s pistons are plagued with leaky valves and balky contacts. USA TODAY, "Jornada del Muerto, Livestrong rebrand, Mach 8 tunnel: News from around our 50 states," 12 Feb. 2020 Computer programs aimed at providing real-time information on the availability of beds and services, and the need for them, have been balky. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: San Diego’s ever-shifting policies to combat homelessness," 18 Oct. 2019 But if the monument is one of the best known American symbols, the elevator inside had also achieved a kind of celebrity for its notoriously balky operation. Martin Weil, Washington Post, "Washington Monument elevator acts up," 21 Sep. 2019 The senior linebacker has had his last two seasons cut short by injury; a balky shoulder limited him to seven games in 2017 and a knee injury suffered in training camp last August wiped out his 2018 season. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, "Five things to watch during UCLA’s training camp," 30 July 2019

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.

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First Known Use of balky

1831, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for balky

Time Traveler

The first known use of balky was in 1831

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Statistics for balky

Last Updated

20 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Balky.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for balky


How to pronounce balky (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of balky

chiefly US : not doing what is wanted or expected


\ ˈbȯ-kē How to pronounce balky (audio) \
balkier; balkiest

Kids Definition of balky

: likely to stop or refuse to go a balky engine

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More from Merriam-Webster on balky

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for balky

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with balky

Spanish Central: Translation of balky

Nglish: Translation of balky for Spanish Speakers

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