\ˈbȯ-kē, 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

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 Surgery on the horizon: Freshman guard Brad Davison, who first dislocated his left shoulder in the fourth game of the season, battled constant pain and a balky brace over the final 29 games. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Ethan Happ plans to test NBA waters but will return to UW if not a first-round pick," 2 Mar. 2018 Jhoulys Chacin, Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver — whose balky left hip recently landed him on the 60-day disabled list — are free agents after the season. Jeff Sanders,, "Padres looking for more from Dinelson Lamet," 10 Aug. 2017 Or passing on the chance, drafting a linebacker (Haason Reddick) and paying big money for a quarterback with a balky knee (Bradford), albeit for one year? Kent Somers, azcentral, "Arizona Cardinals' General Manager Steve Keim's NFL drafts haven't always been 'Keim Time'," 20 Apr. 2018 But there was no stampede by others to buy the balky machine. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Burton Smith Lost a Supercomputing Race but Won Respect and Influence," 13 Apr. 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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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

: not doing what is wanted or expected


\ˈbȯ-kē \
balkier; balkiest

Kids Definition of balky

: likely to stop or refuse to go a balky engine

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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).


playful or foolish behavior

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