BAULK, or Balk (a word common to Teutonic languages, meaning a ridge, partition, or beam), the ridge left unploughed between furrows or ploughed fields; also the uncultivated strip of land used as a boundary in the "open-field" system of agriculture. From the meaning of something left untouched comes that of a hindrance or check, so of a horse stopping short of an obstacle, of the "baulk-line" in billiards, or of the deceptive motion of the pitcher in baseball. From the other original meaning, i.e. "beam," comes the use of the word for the cross or tie-beam of a roof, or for a large log of timber sawn to a one or one and a half foot square section (see Joinery).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)