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See also: Balk



Etymology 1Edit

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 Dutch balk (balk), German Balken (balk), Italian balcone (balcony).

Alternative formsEdit



balk (plural balks)

  1. An uncultivated ridge formed in the open field system, caused by the action of ploughing.
    • Fuller
      Bad ploughmen made balks of such ground.
  2. (archaeology) the wall of earth at the edge of an excavation
  3. beam, crossbeam
  4. A hindrance or disappointment; a check.
    • South
      a balk to the confidence of the bold undertaker
  5. A sudden and obstinate stop; a failure.
  6. (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


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.

Etymology 2Edit

Probably from Dutch balken (to bray, bawl).


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.


  1. ^ balk” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2017.




balk c

  1. a wooden beam
  2. (heraldry) a bend (diagonal band)


Declension of balk 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative balk balken balker balkerna
Genitive balks balkens balkers balkernas