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baulk

[bawk] /bɔk/
verb (used with or without object), noun
1.
balk.

balk

or baulk

[bawk] /bɔk/
verb (used without object)
1.
to stop, as at an obstacle, and refuse to proceed or to do something specified (usually followed by at):
He balked at making the speech.
2.
(of a horse, mule, etc.) to stop short and stubbornly refuse to go on.
3.
Baseball. to commit a balk.
verb (used with object)
4.
to place an obstacle in the way of; hinder; thwart:
a sudden reversal that balked her hopes.
5.
Archaic. to let slip; fail to use:
to balk an opportunity.
noun
6.
a check or hindrance; defeat; disappointment.
7.
a strip of land left unplowed.
8.
a crossbeam in the roof of a house that unites and supports the rafters; tie beam.
9.
any heavy timber used for building purposes.
10.
Baseball. an illegal motion by a pitcher while one or more runners are on base, as a pitch in which there is either an insufficient or too long a pause after the windup or stretch, a pretended throw to first or third base or to the batter with one foot on the pitcher's rubber, etc., resulting in a penalty advancing the runner or runners one base.
11.
Billiards. any of the eight panels or compartments lying between the cushions of the table and the balklines.
12.
Obsolete. a miss, slip, or failure:
to make a balk.
Idioms
13.
in balk, inside any of the spaces in back of the balklines on a billiard table.
Origin of balk
900
before 900; Middle English; Old English balca covering, beam, ridge; cognate with Old Norse bǫlkr bar, partition, Dutch balk, Old Saxon balko, German Balken, Old Norse bjalki beam, Old English bolca plank; perhaps akin to Latin sufflāmen, Slovene blazína, Lithuanian balžíenas beam. See balcony
Related forms
balker, noun
balkingly, adverb
unbalked, adjective
unbalking, adjective
unbalkingly, adverb
Synonyms
4. check, retard, obstruct, impede, prevent.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for baulks
Historical Examples
  • Cox won't ride him because he baulks, and so he has come into my stable.

    Phineas Redux Anthony Trollope
  • Then upon the latter are laid "baulks" and upon them the flooring as usual.

  • The pairs of rafts are joined by three baulks 15 ft. long laid in parallel grooves in the framing.

  • A tackle hooked to one of the baulks of timber forming the staith was being hauled at by five women and two men!

  • For a single instant the stockade became outlined, and Dick thought he saw heads peeping up above the baulks of timber.

    With Wolseley to Kumasi F.S. Brereton
  • The hole was soon dug and the anchor deposited therein, planks and baulks of timber being laid upon it as before.

    Across the Spanish Main Harry Collingwood
  • The party wall had already been removed, and the structure above rested on baulks and beams.

    The Hole in the Wall Arthur Morrison
  • So these "baulks" are made like planks, very oblong if looked at endwise, also thinner at the ends than in the middle.

  • Before leaving the hut we jammed the window up with baulks of timber, to the best of our ability, in the storm and darkness.

    South! Sir Ernest Shackleton
  • The marks of teeth and claws on some of the baulks of the palisade showed us that the visitor had climbed over.

British Dictionary definitions for baulks

balk

/bɔːk; bɔːlk/
verb
1.
(intransitive) usually foll by at. to stop short, esp suddenly or unexpectedly; jib: the horse balked at the jump
2.
(intransitive) foll by at. to turn away abruptly; recoil: he balked at the idea of murder
3.
(transitive) to thwart, check, disappoint, or foil: he was balked in his plans
4.
(transitive) to avoid deliberately: he balked the question
5.
(transitive) to miss unintentionally
noun
6.
a roughly squared heavy timber beam
7.
a timber tie beam of a roof
8.
an unploughed ridge to prevent soil erosion or mark a division on common land
9.
an obstacle; hindrance; disappointment
10.
(baseball) an illegal motion by a pitcher towards the plate or towards the base when there are runners on base, esp without delivering the ball
See also baulk
Derived Forms
balker, baulker, noun
Word Origin
Old English balca; related to Old Norse bálkr partition, Old High German balco beam

baulk

/bɔːk; usually for sense 1 bɔːlk/
noun
1.
(billiards) Also (US) balk
  1. the space, usually 29 inches deep, between the baulk line and the bottom cushion
  2. (in baulk-line games) one of the spaces between the cushions and the baulk lines
  3. in baulk, inside one of these spaces
2.
(archaeol) a strip of earth left between excavation trenches for the study of the complete stratigraphy of a site
3.
(croquet) either of two lines (A baulk and B baulk) at diagonally opposite ends of the court, from which the ball is struck into play
verb, noun
4.
a variant spelling of balk
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for baulks

balk

n.

Old English balca "ridge, bank," from or influenced by Old Norse balkr "ridge of land," especially between two plowed furrows, both from Proto-Germanic *balkan-, *belkan- (cf. Old Saxon balko, Danish bjelke, Old Frisian balka, Old High German balcho, German Balken "beam, rafter"), from PIE *bhelg- "beam, plank" (cf. Latin fulcire "to prop up, support," fulcrum "bedpost;" Lithuanian balziena "cross-bar;" and possibly Greek phalanx "trunk, log, line of battle"). Modern senses are figurative, representing the balk as a hindrance or obstruction (see balk (v.)). Baseball sense is first attested 1845.

v.

late 14c., "to leave an unplowed ridge when plowing," from balk (n.). Extended meaning "to omit, intentionally neglect" is mid-15c. Most modern senses are figurative, from the notion of a balk in the fields as a hindrance or obstruction: sense of "stop short" (as a horse confronted with an obstacle) is late 15c.; that of "to refuse" is 1580s. Related: Balked; balking.

baulk

alternative spelling of balk, especially in billiards, in reference to a bad shot.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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