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

Known for his durability and pain tolerance, Thompson made an impassioned plea to play with the balky hamstring. Rusty Simmons,, "Warriors’ Klay Thompson ready, eager to return to action in Game 4," 6 June 2019 Back to science, soon During the last two weeks, operators have been trying to bring this third, previously balky gyro back online. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "NASA brings a Hubble gyro back to life after a seven-year hibernation," 22 Oct. 2018 Fluker has dealt with a balky knee all year (he was limited through much of the offseason) and missed the first two games of the season because of a hamstring injury suffered in the preseason. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks Q&A: Did Russell Wilson really throw the shoe of a 49er? What happens without D.J. Fluker?," 4 Dec. 2018 In a hypercompetitive environment, there is little wiggle room for balky products or ineffective team members. Noam Wasserman, WSJ, "The Life Lessons We Can Learn From Successful Startups," 25 Nov. 2018 The app and balky wifi were only part of the tech problem, too; how about even installing some basic ribbon scoreboards in Chartrier with updates from around the grounds or at least run a score ticker periodically at the bottom of the big Jumbotron? Jon Wertheim,, "Mailbag: Looking Back at Roland Garros," 13 June 2018 The veteran has started every game and has been nursing a balky hamstring. Kevin Acee,, "Javy Guerra makes the big leagues for Padres," 4 May 2018 One guard’s balky shooting form may be a correctable flaw, while one center’s shoddy defensive awareness could prove a more lasting problem. Chris Johnson,, "2018 NBA Draft Superlatives: Biggest Sleeper, Safest Pick And More," 14 June 2018 Santiam Christian's Rebeka Preston overcomes her nerves and a balky hamstring to win Oregon 3A girls triple jump. Ken Goe,, "Are the UW Huskies about to put a bigger emphasis on track? Oregon track & field rundown," 19 May 2018

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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Statistics for balky

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for balky

The first known use of balky was in 1831

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More Definitions for balky



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with balky

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for balky

Spanish Central: Translation of balky

Nglish: Translation of balky for Spanish Speakers

Comments on balky

What made you want to look up balky? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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