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Meaning of balk

balk

Pronunciation: (bôk), [key]
— v.i.
  1. to stop, as at an obstacle, and refuse to proceed or to do something specified (usually fol. by at): He balked at making the speech.
  2. (of a horse, mule, etc.) to stop short and stubbornly refuse to go on.
  3. to commit a balk.
—v.t.
  1. to place an obstacle in the way of; hinder; thwart: a sudden reversal that balked her hopes.
  2. to let slip; fail to use: to balk an opportunity.
—n.
  1. a check or hindrance; defeat; disappointment.
  2. a strip of land left unplowed.
  3. a crossbeam in the roof of a house that unites and supports the rafters; tie beam.
  4. any heavy timber used for building purposes.
  5. an illegal motion by a pitcher while one or more runners are on base, as a pitch in which there is either an insufficient or too long a pause after the windup or stretch, a pretended throw to first or third base or to the batter with one foot on the pitcher's rubber, etc., resulting in a penalty advancing the runner or runners one base.
  6. any of the eight panels or compartments lying between the cushions of the table and the balklines.
  7. a miss, slip, or failure: to make a balk.
  8. inside any of the spaces in back of the balklines on a billiard table.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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