Date: 1400-1500
Origin: balk 'raised area that gets in the way of forward movement' (15-21 centuries), from Old English balca 'pile of things on the ground'


balk also baulk British English
1 [intransitive] to not want to do or try something, because it seems difficult, unpleasant, or frightening
balk at
Many people would balk at setting up a new business during a recession.
Westerners balk at the prospect of snake on the menu.
2 [intransitive] if a horse balks at a fence, it stops in front of it and refuses to jump over it
3 [intransitive] American EnglishDSB in baseball, to stop in the middle of the action of throwing the ball to the player who is trying to hit it
4 [transitive] formal to stop someone or something from getting or achieving what they want

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