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balk (verb) drop the idea of doing something because it is dangerous or difficult; to be prevented from something or from doing something; (of a horse) refusing to jump over a fence.
When you balk at something, you suddenly give up the idea of doing it, because you feel it is difficult or dangerous. 'He balked at the idea of attacking the enemy when he saw that the enemy was armed.' This means, though prepared to attack the enemy, he suddenly stopped short of attacking him, because of his weapons. You stop short of entering a room on seeing something in the room not to your liking or because you are afraid. That is, you balk at entering the room. You balk at the idea of buying something because you feel its price is more than its worth, that is, you decide not to buy it. A person is balked from a position of power they desire, if their opponents prevent them from getting it. Jenny is balked from the leadership of the party. This means, her opponents saw to it she was not elected leader of the party. A horse which stops short of a fence and refuses to jump over it, balks at it.
- Sunny balked at the idea of having to go all the distance just to participate in the minor event. He did not like such a long journey in his present state of health.
- Many students showed interest in the new program offered by the university, but balked when they knew it would cost more than they could afford.
- Jenny was disappointed when she was balked from her holiday, when she could not take her day off.
- The jail officers, having information that some prisoners were planning to escape, balked their plans by tightening the security around the prison.