American English

Definition of balk verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they balk he / she / it balks past simple balked -ing form balking
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  1. 1[intransitive] balk (at something) to be unwilling to do something or become involved in something because it is difficult, dangerous, etc. Many parents may balk at the idea of paying $100 for a pair of shoes. He balked for a moment. “I can't afford it,” he finally admitted.
  2. 2[intransitive] balk (at something) (of a horse) to stop suddenly and refuse to jump a fence, etc.
  3. 3[transitive] balk somebody (of something) [usually passive] (formal) to prevent someone from getting something or doing something She looked like a lion balked of its prey.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: balk