Pronunciation: (bôk), [key]
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. commit a balk.

1. to place an obstacle in the way of; hinder; thwart: a sudden reversal that balked her hopes.
2. let slip; fail to use: to balk an opportunity.

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. 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. Billiards.any of the eight panels or compartments lying between the cushions of the table and the balklines.
7. Obs.a miss, slip, or failure: to make a balk.
8. in balk, inside any of the spaces in back of the balklines on a billiard table. Also,baulk.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

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