World English Dictionary
balk or baulk (bɔːk, bɔːlk, bɔːk, bɔːlk)
vb (usually foll by at) (foll by at)
1.  to stop short, esp suddenly or unexpectedly; jib: the horse balked at the jump
2.  to turn away abruptly; recoil: he balked at the idea of murder
3.  (tr) to thwart, check, disappoint, or foil: he was balked in his plans
4.  (tr) to avoid deliberately: he balked the question
5.  (tr) to miss unintentionally
6.  a roughly squared heavy timber beam
7.  a timber tie beam of a roof
8.  an unploughed ridge to prevent soil erosion or mark a division on common land
9.  an obstacle; hindrance; disappointment
10.  baseball an illegal motion by a pitcher towards the plate or towards the base when there are runners on base, esp without delivering the ball
[Old English balca; related to Old Norse bálkr partition, Old High German balco beam]
baulk or baulk
[Old English balca; related to Old Norse bálkr partition, Old High German balco beam]
'balker or baulk
'baulker or baulk

baulk (bɔːk, (usually for sense 1) bɔːlk)
1.  billiards Also (US): balk
 a.  the space, usually 29 inches deep, between the baulk line and the bottom cushion
 b.  (in baulk-line games) one of the spaces between the cushions and the baulk lines
 c.  in baulk inside one of these spaces
2.  archaeol a strip of earth left between excavation trenches for the study of the complete stratigraphy of a site
3.  croquet either of two lines (A baulk and B baulk) at diagonally opposite ends of the court, from which the ball is struck into play
vb, —n
4.  a variant spelling of balk

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

alt. spelling of balk, especially in billiards, in reference to a bad shot.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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