• (RP) IPA: /bɔːk/, /bɔːlk/
  • (America) IPA: /bɔk/
  • (cot-caught, Northern Cities Vowel Shift) IPA: /bɑk/

balk (plural balks)

  1. An uncultivated ridge formed in the open field system, caused by the action of ploughing.
    • Bad ploughmen made balks of such ground.
  2. (archaeology) The wall of earth at the edge of an excavation.
  3. Beam, crossbeam; squared timber; a tie beam of a house, stretching from wall to wall, especially when laid so as to form a loft, "the balks".
  4. A hindrance or disappointment; a check.
    • a balk to the confidence of the bold undertaker
  5. A sudden and obstinate stop; a failure.
  6. (obsolete) An omission.
  7. (sports) A deceptive motion; a feint.
    1. (baseball) An illegal motion by the pitcher, intended to deceive a runner.
    2. (badminton) A motion used to deceive the opponent during a serve.
  8. (billiards) The area of the table lying behind the line from which the cue ball is initially shot, and from which a ball in hand must be played.
  9. (snooker) The area of the table lying behind the baulk line.
  10. (fishing) The rope by which fishing nets are fastened together.
Translations Translations Verb

balk (balks, present participle balking; past and past participle balked)

  1. (archaic) To pass over or by.
  2. To omit, miss or overlook by chance.
    Synonyms: miss, overlook
  3. (obsolete) To miss intentionally; to avoid.
    Synonyms: avoid, shun, refuse, shirk
    • By reason of the contagion then in London, we balked the nns.
    • Sick he is, and keeps his bed, and balks his meat.
    • 1627, Michael Drayton, Nymphidia
      Nor doth he any creature balk, / But lays on all he meeteth.
  4. To stop, check, block.
  5. To stop short and refuse to go on.
    The horse balked.
  6. To refuse suddenly.
    • 1847 October 15, Currer Bell [pseudonym; Charlotte Brontë], chapter 11, in Jane Eyre. An Autobiography. [...] In Three Volumes, volume 2, London: Smith, Elder, and Co., […], OCLC 3163777 ↗:
      quote en
  7. To disappoint; to frustrate.
    Synonyms: frustrate, foil, baffle, thwart
    to balk expectation
    • They shall not balk my entrance.
  8. To engage in contradiction; to be in opposition.
    • In strifeful terms with him to balk.
  9. To leave or make balks in.
  10. To leave heaped up; to heap up in piles.
    • c. 1597, William Shakespeare, “The First Part of Henry the Fourth, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act I, scene i]:
      Ten thousand bold Scots, two and twenty knights, / Balk'd in their own blood did Sir Walter see.
Translations Translations Translations Verb

balk (balks, present participle balking; past and past participle balked)

  1. To indicate to fishermen, by shouts or signals from shore, the direction taken by the shoals of herring.

Proper noun
  1. Surname

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