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adjective, balk·i·er, balk·i·est.
  1. given to balking; stubborn; obstinate: a balky mule.
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Origin of balky

First recorded in 1840–50; balk + -y1
Related formsbalk·i·ly, adverbbalk·i·ness, noun


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for balky

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He insisted doggedly on his rôle as a balky ox and scowled at the teamster.

  • You buy a lot of half-broken, bucking, balky teams because you can get 'em cheap.

    A California Girl

    Edward Eldridge

  • The horse proved to be an obstreperous, balky thing, and as contrary as a mule.

  • It leaked, and it steered like a balky mule, but what of that?

  • I urged it, as a farmer urges a balky horse, but it refused to move forward.

    Up Terrapin River

    Opie P. Read

British Dictionary definitions for balky



adjective balkier, balkiest, baulkier or baulkiest
  1. inclined to stop abruptly and unexpectedlya balky horse
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Derived Formsbalkily or baulkily, adverbbalkiness or baulkiness, 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

Word Origin and History for balky


1847, from balk (n.) + -y (2). Related: Balkily; balkiness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper