Thesaurus

balk

noun

Synonyms & Antonyms of balk

(Entry 1 of 2)

balk

verb

Synonyms & Antonyms of balk (Entry 2 of 2)

to prevent from achieving a goal
  • a young man with big dreams who refused to be balked by the many challenges he faced in making them a reality

Synonyms for balk

Words Related to balk

Near Antonyms for balk

Antonyms for balk

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About balk

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about balk

Time Traveler for balk

Time Traveler

The first known use of balk was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Cite this Entry

“Balk.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/balk. Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on balk

Dictionary: Definition of balk

Nglish: Translation of balk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of balk for Arabic Speakers

Comments on balk

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Namesakes Word Quiz

  • a citrus fruit possibly named after a person
  • Which of the following is a fruit named after a Moroccan seaport?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!