as in rebellious
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 & Similar Words


Antonyms & Near Antonyms

Synonym Chooser

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

Thesaurus Entries Near balky

Cite this Entry

“Balky.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2023.

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