boy·​cott | \ ˈbȯi-ˌkät How to pronounce boycott (audio) \
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 One Facebook event titled Boycott for Black Lives will feature a list of public figures and organizations people can boycott. Coral Murphy, USA TODAY, "'Boycott for Black Lives': People plan to stop spending in companies that don't support BLM," 19 June 2020 Some players on Thursday expressed willingness to boycott practices and games in order to make a bigger point. Los Angeles Times, "UCLA football players demand protection from ‘injustices’ amid pandemic return," 19 June 2020 After threatening to boycott the debates last year, Trump has pivoted and tapped his lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to push for more of them, Politico reports. TheWeek, "Trump recruits Rudy Giuliani to push for free-for-all debates where Biden and Trump ask each other questions," 19 June 2020 Yet in 2016, the president threatened to boycott the presidential debates before appearing at a podium opposite of Secretary Hillary Clinton. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Trump and Biden respond to Supreme Court's DACA decision," 18 June 2020 On Wednesday, the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP began asking big advertisers to boycott Facebook for the month of July in protest of the company's content policies. NBC News, "Facebook to direct $200M to Black-owned businesses as part of 'diverse suppliers' promise," 18 June 2020 James and Howard’s opinions come as New Jersey Nets’ star Kyrie Irving reportedly attempted to convince the players to boycott the return on a Zoom conference call with around 100 players in early June. oregonlive, "Los Angeles Lakers insists there’s no rift among players regarding return to play," 15 June 2020 While the post is now deleted, screenshots were shared widely on social media, with users calling for customers to boycott Detroit Popcorn and suggesting other businesses from which to buy popcorn. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Popcorn Company has a new buyer after owner's 'knee' remark caused backlash," 11 June 2020 An earlier version of the bill was rejected on May 20th after British supermarkets threatened to boycott Brazilian products. The Economist, "Of chainsaws and supply chains How big beef and soya firms can stop deforestation," 11 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for boycott

Time Traveler

The first known use of boycott was in 1880

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Last Updated

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Boycott.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for boycott


How to pronounce boycott (audio)

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 How to pronounce boycott (audio) \
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
boy·​cott | \ ˈbȯi-ˌkät How to pronounce boycott (audio) \

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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