Thesaurus

balky

adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms of balky

given to resisting authority or another's control
  • a balky toddler who only seemed to know the word "no" when told to do something

Synonyms for balky

Words Related to balky

Near Antonyms for balky

Antonyms for balky

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About balky

How does the adjective balky contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of balky are contrary, perverse, restive, and wayward. While all these words mean "inclined to resist authority or control," balky suggests a refusing to proceed in a desired direction or course of action.

a balky witness

When would contrary be a good substitute for balky?

While in some cases nearly identical to balky, contrary implies a temperamental unwillingness to accept orders or advice.

a contrary child

In what contexts can perverse take the place of balky?

While the synonyms perverse and balky are close in meaning, perverse may imply wrongheaded, determined, or cranky opposition to what is reasonable or normal.

a perverse, intractable critic

When is it sensible to use restive instead of balky?

Although the words restive and balky have much in common, restive suggests unwillingness or inability to submit to discipline or follow orders.

tired soldiers growing restive

When is wayward a more appropriate choice than balky?

The words wayward and balky can be used in similar contexts, but wayward suggests strong-willed capriciousness and irregularity in behavior.

a school for wayward youths

Learn More About balky

Time Traveler for balky

Time Traveler

The first known use of balky was in 1831

See more words from the same year

Thesaurus Entries Near balky

balks (at)

balky

ball

See More Nearby Entries 

Cite this Entry

“Balky.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/balky. Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on balky

Nglish: Translation of balky for Spanish Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!