balk

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English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English balke, Old English balca, either from or influenced by Old Norse bálkr (partition, ridge of land),[1] from Proto-Germanic *balkô. Cognate with German Balken (balk), Italian balcone (balcony).

Alternative forms[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

balk (plural balks)

  1. ridge, an unplowed strip of land
    • Fuller
      Bad ploughmen made balks of such ground.
  2. beam, crossbeam
  3. A hindrance or disappointment; a check.
    • South
      a balk to the confidence of the bold undertaker
  4. A sudden and obstinate stop; a failure.
  5. (sports) deceptive motion; feint
    1. (baseball) an illegal motion by the pitcher, intended to deceive a runner
    2. (badminton) motion used to deceive an opponent during a serve
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

balk (third-person singular simple present balks, present participle balking, simple past and past participle balked)

  1. (archaic) To pass over or by.
  2. To omit, miss, or overlook by chance.
  3. (obsolete) To miss intentionally; to avoid; to shun; to refuse; to let go by; to shirk.
    • Evelyn
      By reason of the contagion then in London, we balked the nns.
    • Bishop Hall
      Sick he is, and keeps his bed, and balks his meat.
    • Drayton
      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.
  7. To disappoint; to frustrate; to foil; to baffle; to thwart.
    to balk expectation
    • Byron
      They shall not balk my entrance.
  8. To engage in contradiction; to be in opposition.
    • Spenser
      In strifeful terms with him to balk.
  9. To leave or make balks in.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Gower to this entry?)
  10. To leave heaped up; to heap up in piles.
    • Shakespeare
      Ten thousand bold Scots, two and twenty knights, / Balk'd in their own blood did Sir Walter see.
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Probably from Dutch balken (to bray, bawl).

Verb[edit]

balk (third-person singular simple present balks, present participle balking, simple past and past participle balked)

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

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.

References[edit]

  1. ^ balk” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).

Dutch[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Old Dutch *balko, from Proto-Germanic *balkô.

Noun[edit]

balk m (plural balken, diminutive balkje n)

  1. beam, support
  2. (mathematics) cuboid

Etymology 2[edit]

Verb[edit]

balk

  1. first-person singular present indicative of balken
  2. imperative of balken