If you balk at your mother's suggestion that you take on more responsibility, you're saying no to added chores. To balk means to refuse to go along with.

A donkey balks when it refuses to move forward. This is a good picture for balk which is often used in conjunction with demands. Demands are something people often balk at like a donkey refusing to move. In baseball, a pitcher balks when he or she begins a pitch by winding up, but does not complete it. It is as if he is refusing to complete a started pitch, and it is against the rules.

Definitions of balk
  1. verb
    refuse to comply
    synonyms: baulk, jib, resist
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    type of:
    refuse to go along with; refuse to follow; be disobedient
  2. verb
    show unwillingness towards
    synonyms: decline, refuse
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    accept, consent, go for
    give an affirmative reply to; respond favorably to
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    disdain, freeze off, pooh-pooh, reject, scorn, spurn, turn down
    reject with contempt
    contract out
    refuse to pay a levy to a union for political use
    decline formally or politely
    refuse to recognize or pay
    refuse to go along with; refuse to follow; be disobedient
    rebuff, repel, snub
    reject outright and bluntly
    sit in
    participate in an act of civil disobedience
    counteract, countermine, sabotage, subvert, undermine, weaken
    destroy property or hinder normal operations
    baulk, jib, resist
    refuse to comply
    type of:
    react, respond
    show a response or a reaction to something
  3. noun
    something immaterial that interferes with or delays action or progress
    synonyms: baulk, check, deterrent, handicap, hinderance, hindrance, impediment
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    albatross, millstone
    (figurative) something that hinders or handicaps
    something that hinders as if with bonds
    diriment impediment
    (canon law) an impediment that invalidates a marriage (such as the existence of a prior marriage)
    something that slows or delays progress
    obstacle, obstruction
    something immaterial that stands in the way and must be circumvented or surmounted
    anything immaterial that severely hinders or confines
    barrier, roadblock
    any condition that makes it difficult to make progress or to achieve an objective
    hang-up, hitch, rub, snag
    an unforeseen obstacle
    an obstacle that you are expected to overcome
    stymie, stymy
    a thwarting and distressing situation
    type of:
    a factor causing trouble in achieving a positive result or tending to produce a negative result
  4. noun
    an illegal pitching motion while runners are on base
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    type of:
    delivery, pitch
    (baseball) the act of throwing a baseball by a pitcher to a batter
  5. noun
    the area on a billiard table behind the balkline
    “a player with ball in hand must play from the balk
    synonyms: baulk
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    type of:
    area, expanse, surface area
    the extent of a 2-dimensional surface enclosed within a boundary
  6. noun
    one of several parallel sloping beams that support a roof
    synonyms: baulk, rafter
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    type of:
    long thick piece of wood or metal or concrete, etc., used in construction
Word Family

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