Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To stop short and refuse to go on.
  • intransitive verb To refuse obstinately or abruptly.
  • intransitive verb Sports To make an incomplete or misleading motion.
  • intransitive verb Baseball To make an illegal motion before pitching, allowing one or more base runners to advance one base.
  • intransitive verb To check or thwart by or as if by an obstacle.
  • intransitive verb Archaic To let go by; miss.
  • noun A hindrance, check, or defeat.
  • noun Sports An incomplete or misleading motion, especially an illegal move made by a baseball pitcher.
  • noun Games One of the spaces between the cushion and the balk line on a billiard table.
  • noun An unplowed strip of land.
  • noun A ridge between furrows.
  • noun A wooden beam or rafter.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In wool-manuf., a fullness and suppleness of texture.
  • noun The failure of a jumper or vaulter to jump after taking his run. Three balks usually count as a trial-jump.
  • To make a balk or ridge in plowing; make a ridge in by leaving a strip unplowed.
  • Hence To leave untouched generally; omit; pass over; neglect; shun.
  • To place a balk in the way of; hence, to hinder; thwart; frustrate; disappoint.
  • To miss by error or inadvertence.
  • To heap up so as to form a balk or ridge.
  • [Some editors read bak'd in this passage.] Synonyms
  • To stop short in one's course, as at a balk or obstacle: as, the horse balked; he balked in his speech. Spenser.
  • To quibble; bandy words.
  • To signify to fishing-boats the direction taken by the shoals of herrings or pilchards, as seen from heights overlooking the sea: done at first by bawling or shouting, subsequently by signals.
  • noun A ridge; especially, a ridge left unplowed in the body of a field, or between fields; an uncultivated strip of land serving as a boundary, often between pieces of ground held by different tenants.
  • noun A piece missed in plowing.
  • noun An omission; an exception.
  • noun A blunder; a failure or miscarriage: as, to make a balk; you have made a bad balk of it.
  • noun In base-ball, a motion made by the pitcher as if to pitch the ball, but without actually doing so.
  • noun A barrier in one's way; an obstacle or stumbling-block.
  • noun A check or defeat; a disappointment.
  • noun In coal-mining, a more or less sudden thinning out, for a certain distance, of a bed of coal; a nip or want.
  • noun A beam or piece of timber of considerable length and thickness.
  • noun Milit., one of the beams connecting the successive supports of a trestle-bridge or bateau-bridge.
  • noun In carpentry, a squared timber, long or short; a large timber in a frame, floor, etc.; a square log.
  • noun The beam of a balance.
  • noun In billiards, the space between the cushion of the table and the balkline. A ball inside this space is said to be in balk.
  • noun A long wooden or iron table on which paper is laid in the press-room of a printing-office.
  • noun A set of stout stakes surrounded by netting or wickerwork for catching fish.
  • noun The stout rope at the top of fishing-nets by which they are fastened one to another in a fleet.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb obsolete To engage in contradiction; to be in opposition.
  • intransitive verb To stop abruptly and stand still obstinately; to jib; to stop short; to swerve.
  • intransitive verb (Baseball) to commit a balk{6}; -- of a pitcher.
  • transitive verb obsolete To leave or make balks in.
  • transitive verb obsolete To leave heaped up; to heap up in piles.
  • transitive verb obsolete To omit, miss, or overlook by chance.
  • transitive verb Obs. or Obsolescent To miss intentionally; to avoid; to shun; to refuse; to let go by; to shirk.
  • transitive verb To disappoint; to frustrate; to foil; to baffle; to thwart.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English balken, to plow up in ridges, from balk, ridge, from Old English balca and from Old Norse balkr, beam.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Probably from Dutch balken ("to bray, bawl").

Examples

  • Beckett got upset with West in the fifth inning after he called a balk on an attempted pickoff toss to first base.

    undefined

  • Beckett got upset with West in the fifth inning after he called a balk on an attempted pickoff toss to first base.

    News from www.muscatinejournal.com

  • Beckett got upset with West in the fifth inning after he called a balk on an attempted pickoff toss to first base.

    TheBostonChannel.com - News

  • Beckett got upset with West in the fifth inning after he called a balk on an attempted pickoff toss to first base.

    TimesArgus.com: Sports

  • Beckett got upset with West in the fifth inning after he called a balk on an attempted pickoff toss to first base.

    NCAA News -- www.ncaa.com

  • Beckett got upset with West in the fifth inning after he called a balk on an attempted pickoff toss to first base.

    StarTribune.com rss feed

  • Beckett got upset with West in the fifth inning after he called a balk on an attempted pickoff toss to first base.

    Nashuatelegraph.com local, state, business and sports news

  • Beckett got upset with West in the fifth inning after he called a balk on an attempted pickoff toss to first base.

    Latest Headlines - ABC 7 News

  • Beckett got upset with West in the fifth inning after he called a balk on an attempted pickoff toss to first base.

    Yahoo! Sports - Top News

  • Beckett got upset with West in the fifth inning after he called a balk on an attempted pickoff toss to first base.

    Sports News : CBSSports.com

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • I didn't know the "unplowed strip of land" definition of this until now:

    "Beyond an orchard, a raised balk ran along the edge of a common field leading down to the river, angled with cultivated strips."

    Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin, p 118 of the Berkley paperback edition

    February 26, 2012

  • Refuse abruptly

    July 8, 2014

  • (noun) - A rafter in a kitchen or outhouse; a rack fixed to a rafter or balk, used in old farmhouses which holds the flitches of bacon used by the family. --William Toone's Etymological Dictionary of Obsolete Words, 1832

    January 26, 2018