or baulk


verb (used without object)

verb (used with object)

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.


Nearby words

  1. balinese cat,
  2. baliol,
  3. baliol, john de,
  4. balisage,
  5. balistraria,
  6. balkan,
  7. balkan frame,
  8. balkan mountains,
  9. balkan peninsula,
  10. balkan states


    in balk, inside any of the spaces in back of the balklines on a billiard table.

Origin of balk

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for balking

British Dictionary definitions for balking




(intr usually foll by at) to stop short, esp suddenly or unexpectedly; jibthe horse balked at the jump
(intr foll by at) to turn away abruptly; recoilhe balked at the idea of murder
(tr) to thwart, check, disappoint, or foilhe was balked in his plans
(tr) to avoid deliberatelyhe 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

Derived Formsbalker or baulker, noun

Word Origin for balk

Old English balca; related to Old Norse bálkr partition, Old High German balco beam

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

Word Origin and History for balking
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper