From Middle English balke, from Old English balca, either from or influenced by Old Norse bálkr (“partition, ridge of land”), from Proto-Germanic *balkô. Cognate with Dutch balk (“balk”), German Balken (“balk”), Italian balcone (“balcony”).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /bɔːk/, /bɔːlk/
Audio (UK) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /bɔk/
- (cot–caught merger, Inland Northern American) IPA(key): /bɑk/
- Rhymes: -ɔːk
balk (plural balks)
- (agriculture) An uncultivated ridge formed in the open field system, caused by the action of ploughing.
- 1645, Thomas Fuller, Good Thoughts in Bad Times:
- Bad ploughmen, which made balks of such ground.
- (archaeology) The wall of earth at the edge of an excavation.
- 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".
- A hindrance or disappointment; a check.
- A sudden and obstinate stop.
- Synonym: failure
- (obsolete) An omission.
- (sports) A deceptive motion.
- Synonym: feint
- (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.
- (snooker) The area of the table lying behind the baulk line.
- (fishing) The rope by which fishing nets are fastened together.
- (archaic) To pass over or by.
- To omit, miss, or overlook by chance.
- (obsolete) To miss intentionally; to avoid.
- 1641 November 22, John Evelyn, “[Diary entry for 12 November 1641 (Julian calendar)]”, in William Bray, editor, Memoirs, Illustrative of the Life and Writings of John Evelyn, […] , volume I, 2nd edition, London: Henry Colburn, […], published 1819, OCLC 976971842:
- By reason of the contagion then in London, we balked the nns.
- 1612–1626, [Joseph Hall], “(please specify the page)”, in [Contemplations vpon the Principall Passages of the Holy Storie], volume (please specify |volume=II, V, or VI), London, OCLC 54134621:
- 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.
- To stop, check, block.
- To stop short and refuse to go on.
- The horse balked.
- To refuse suddenly.
- 1847 October 16, Currer Bell [pseudonym; Charlotte Brontë], chapter 11, in Jane Eyre. An Autobiography. […], volume (please specify |volume=I, II, or III), London: Smith, Elder, and Co., […], OCLC 3163777:
- Real affection, it seemed, he could not have for me; it had been only fitful passion: that was balked; he would want me no more
- To disappoint; to frustrate.
- To engage in contradiction; to be in opposition.
- To leave or make balks in.
- c. 1386–1390, John Gower, Reinhold Pauli, editor, Confessio Amantis of John Gower: Edited and Collated with the Best Manuscripts, volume (please specify |volume=I, II, or III), London: Bell and Daldy […], published 1857, OCLC 827099568:
- But so well halt no man the plough,
That he ne balketh other while
- (please add an English translation of this quote)
- 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: […] 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.
- (sports, intransitive) To make a deceptive motion to deceive another player.
- 2013, Aaron Wisewell, The Baseball Coach
- The best advice you can receive regarding balking is to always maintain poise and composure on the mound.
- 2013, Aaron Wisewell, The Baseball Coach
- 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.
(See the entry for “balk” in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)
- Afrikaans: balk
- Negerhollands: balk
- → Caribbean Javanese: baleg, balok
- → Javanese: ꦧꦭꦺꦴꦏ꧀ (balok)
- → Indonesian: balok
- → Malay: balak
- Indonesian: balak
- → Papiamentu: balki (from the diminutive)
- → Saramaccan: báíki
- → Sranan Tongo: barki, balk
- → Caribbean Hindustani: barki
See the etymology of the corresponding lemma form.
- a wooden or metal beam
- (heraldry) a bend (diagonal band)
- (law) code (major section of legislation)
- criminal code
|Declension of balk|