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

  • adj. Given to stopping and refusing to go on: a balky horse; a balky client.
  • adj. Difficult to operate or start: a balky switch; a balky engine.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Refusing to proceed or cooperate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Apt to balk.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Given to balking; apt to stop abruptly and obstinately refuse to move: as, a balky horse.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. stopping short and refusing to go on


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Williams also recalled a balky computer system that routinely displayed nothing but a blue screen and a system to removed gases from the rig's drilling shack that had been in a bypass mode for five years.

    Hispanic Business Magazine

  • Sure, you could say the umps had something to do with the outcome today, but even with the 'balky' call and missed call at first, the game could have easily been won.

    Denver Post: News: Breaking: Local

  • Aceves, according to George King of the New York Post, was treated for a "balky" back during the offseason, a condition that might be easier to manage if he pitched every fifth day. News

  • While the civilians get to use gleaming restaurant kitchens, the military entrants must duel it out in tents, using the balky, German-made Kaerchers to prepare their gourmet meals.

    Food Fight

  • The notion that tenure was a guarantor of academic freedom—allowing scholars to do maverick research and advance unpopular arguments—arose later, when professors began running up against balky legislatures and unhappy benefactors.

    Hello, Adjunct, Meet Prof. Cozy

  • Reliever Rafael Soriano will not require major surgery on his balky elbow, but general manager Brian Cashman said he is expected to be out until the All-Star break.

    Yankees' Soriano Out Until All-Star Break

  • When the 2010 season began, Richins was in Afghanistan, trying to follow Shelley's games on a balky Internet connection and e-mailing and phoning in questions and suggestions, sometimes during games.

    For football coach back from war, it's like starting over

  • ZumaPress These tech hook-ups sound prosaic to daily users, but in ancient electronic times—a few years ago—live-streamed TV was a balky business, and there's no way a modem in the Austrian mountains would have delivered data all day.

    Hurricane Irene and Steve Jobs

  • The guy cannot practice much anymore because of his balky back, and all week couldn't hit certain shots with confidence and authority because of the pain.

    If Keith Richards Played Golf...

  • Beltran tested his balky knees in the field over the weekend, playing five innings in minor-league games Saturday and Sunday.

    Feliciano Won't Be Ready for Opener


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  • Alys shut off the quibble, kicked open a balky door.

    - P.K. Dick, Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said.

    March 27, 2012