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Synonym Chooser

How does the verb balk differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of balk are baffle, foil, frustrate, and thwart. While all these words mean "to check or defeat another's plan or block achievement of a goal," balk suggests the interposing of obstacles or hindrances.

officials felt that legal restrictions had balked their efforts to control crime

When is baffle a more appropriate choice than balk?

The words baffle and balk are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, baffle implies frustration by confusing or puzzling.

baffled by the maze of rules and regulations

When can foil be used instead of balk?

The synonyms foil and balk are sometimes interchangeable, but foil implies checking or defeating so as to discourage further effort.

foiled by her parents, he stopped trying to see her

When would frustrate be a good substitute for balk?

The words frustrate and balk can be used in similar contexts, but frustrate implies making vain or ineffectual all efforts however vigorous or persistent.

frustrated attempts at government reform

When is it sensible to use thwart instead of balk?

While in some cases nearly identical to balk, thwart suggests frustration or checking by crossing or opposing.

the army thwarted his attempt at a coup

Thesaurus Entries Near balk

Cite this Entry

“Balk.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

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