boy·​cott | \ ˈbȯi-ˌkät \
boycotted; boycotting; boycotts

Definition of boycott

transitive verb

: to engage in a concerted refusal to have dealings with (a person, a store, an organization, etc.) usually to express disapproval or to force acceptance of certain conditions boycotting American products

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Other Words from boycott

boycott noun
boycotter noun

Did You Know?

In the 1870s, Irish farmers faced an agricultural crisis that threatened to result in a repeat of the terrible famine and mass evictions of the 1840s. Anticipating financial ruin, they formed a Land League to campaign against the rent increases and evictions landlords were imposing as a result of the crisis. Retired British army captain Charles Boycott had the misfortune to be acting as an agent for an absentee landlord at the time, and when he tried to evict tenant farmers for refusing to pay their rent, he was ostracized by the League and community. His laborers and servants quit, and his crops began to rot. Boycott's fate was soon well known, and his name became a byword for that particular protest strategy.

Examples of boycott in a Sentence

plans to boycott American products They boycotted the city's bus system. We boycotted companies that were polluting the environment.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Black residents were boycotting the city buses, a protest sparked nine months before when Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat. Matthew Haag, New York Times, "An Alabama Sit-In in 1960, an Apology and the Lifetimes Between," 30 May 2018 At least 11 Democratic lawmakers are boycotting the event, which is far fewer than the 60 who refused to show up for Trump’s inauguration. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "What to Expect From Trump’s 2018 State of the Union Address," 30 Jan. 2018 Two additional Illinois lawmakers will be boycotting Trump’s speech today, including Reps. Maya Rhodan, Time, "All the Democrats Boycotting President Trump's State of the Union Address Tonight," 30 Jan. 2018 Congresswoman, some of your colleagues, like Pramila Jayapal and Maxine Waters, are boycotting the State of the Union. Rebecca Nelson, Cosmopolitan, "Rep. Brenda Lawrence On Honoring Recy Taylor With Red Pins at the State of the Union," 29 Jan. 2018 This would seem especially true for the second season of a very sparkly show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which dropped on Amazon today (and not just because some people are boycotting Amazon). Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Does The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Still Sparkle in Season 2?," 5 Dec. 2018 We're used to students doing crazy things on campus, but now professors are boycotting students. Fox News, "Kevin Hassett talks corporate tax cut, rising wages," 24 Sep. 2018 Last year Kellyanne Conway urged Fox viewers to buy products from Ivanka Trump amidst blowback from customers who were boycotting the brand. Amira Rasool, Teen Vogue, "Ivanka Trump’s Fashion Brand Will Not Be Impacted by Donald Trump's Chinese Trade Tariffs," 9 July 2018 The 42-year-old autism consultant is one of a growing number of Canadians who are boycotting U.S. products, a decision motivated by President Donald Trump's anti-Canadian sentiments and tough trade stance. Zlati Meyer, USA TODAY, "Trump's insults, tariffs inspire Canadians to organize boycott of U.S. goods," 18 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'boycott.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of boycott

1880, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for boycott

Charles C. Boycott †1897 English land agent in Ireland who was ostracized for refusing to reduce rents

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Statistics for boycott

Last Updated

15 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for boycott

The first known use of boycott was in 1880

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More Definitions for boycott



English Language Learners Definition of boycott

: to refuse to buy, use, or participate in (something) as a way of protesting : to stop using the goods or services of (a company, country, etc.) until changes are made


boy·​cott | \ ˈbȯi-ˌkät \
boycotted; boycotting

Kids Definition of boycott

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to join with others in refusing to deal with someone (as a person, organization, or country) as a way of protesting or forcing changes



Kids Definition of boycott (Entry 2 of 2)

: the process or an instance of joining with others in refusing to deal with someone (as a person, organization, or country) as a way of protesting or forcing changes


transitive verb
boy·​cott | \ ˈbȯi-ˌkät \

Legal Definition of boycott

: to engage in a concerted refusal to have dealings with (as a store, business, or organization) usually to express disapproval or to force acceptance of certain conditions — see also primary boycott, secondary boycott

Note: A boycott of a business by its competitors, suppliers, or buyers that has the effect of preventing the business's access to the market is a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

Other Words from boycott

boycott noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on boycott

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with boycott

Spanish Central: Translation of boycott

Nglish: Translation of boycott for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of boycott for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about boycott

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a complex dispute or argument

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