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.
(of a horse, mule, etc.) to stop short and stubbornly refuse to go on.
Baseball. to commit a balk.
to place an obstacle in the way of; hinder; thwart: a sudden reversal that balked her hopes.
Archaic. to let slip; fail to use: to balk an opportunity.
a check or hindrance; defeat; disappointment.
a strip of land left unplowed.
a crossbeam in the roof of a house that unites and supports the rafters; tie beam.
any heavy timber used for building purposes.
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.
Billiards. any of the eight panels or compartments lying between the cushions of the table and the balklines.
Obsolete. a miss, slip, or failure: to make a balk.
Idioms about balk
in balk, inside any of the spaces in back of the balklines on a billiard table.
- balker, noun
- balk·ing·ly, adverb
- un·balked, adjective
- un·balk·ing, adjective
- un·balk·ing·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
British Dictionary definitions for balk
(intr usually foll by at) to stop short, esp suddenly or unexpectedly; jib: the horse balked at the jump
(intr foll by at) to turn away abruptly; recoil: he balked at the idea of murder
(tr) to thwart, check, disappoint, or foil: he was balked in his plans
(tr) to avoid deliberately: he balked the question
(tr) to miss unintentionally
a roughly squared heavy timber beam
a timber tie beam of a roof
an unploughed ridge to prevent soil erosion or mark a division on common land
an obstacle; hindrance; disappointment
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
- balker or baulker, noun
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