- A ridge of land left unplowed between furrows, or at the end of a field; a piece missed by the plow slipping aside."Bad plowmen made balks of such ground." [Fuller.]
- A great beam, rafter, or timber; esp., the tie-beam of a house. The loft above was called “the balks.”"Tubs hanging in the balks." [Chaucer.]
- [Mil] One of the beams connecting the successive supports of a trestle bridge or bateau bridge.
- A hindrance or disappointment; a check."A balk to the confidence of the bold undertaker." [South.]
- A sudden and obstinate stop; a failure.
- [Baseball] A deceptive gesture of the pitcher, as if to deliver the ball. It is illegal and is penalized by allowing the runners on base to advance one base.
Etymology: AS. balca beam, ridge; akin to Icel. bālkr partition, bjālki beam, OS. balko, G. balken; cf. Gael. balc ridge of earth between two furrows. Cf. Balcony Balk (v. t.), 3d Bulk