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 Chuba Hubbard went public with his displeasure, threatening to boycott the program until Gundy made changes. Creg Stephenson |, al, "Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy gets $1 million paycut, restructured contract after departmental review," 3 July 2020 The move to boycott Facebook over its handling of hate speech is still gaining steam—but the platform’s largest advertisers have been tellingly silent, writes Fortune’s Danielle Abril. Alan Murray, Fortune, "As COVID-19 reinvents the vacation, Airbnb is bouncing back," 30 June 2020 Ali led the way for other Muslim American athletes who have pushed for social change, including NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was involved in discussions by the Olympic Project for Human Rights for Black athletes to boycott the 1968 games. Amir Hussain, The Conversation, "Muslim Americans assert solidarity with Black Lives Matter, finding unity within a diverse faith group," 30 June 2020 After the conflict, there have been calls in India to boycott Chinese products and shun Chinese mobile applications, including TikTok, which counts millions of users across India. Joanna Slater, Washington Post, "India bans TikTok and dozens of other Chinese apps in wake of deadly clash," 29 June 2020 Groups including the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change started the campaign, called Stop Hate For Profit, to encourage advertisers to boycott Facebook ads in July. Time, "Verizon Pulls Facebook and Instagram Ads Over Hate Speech and Disinformation," 25 June 2020 One way that the campaign is putting pressure on Facebook to adopt its recommendations to stop online hate and extremism is by encouraging companies to boycott advertising on Facebook and Instagram, which is exactly what Ben & Jerry's is doing. Olivia Harrison,, "Ben & Jerry’s Joins The #StopHateForProfit Campaign & Announces Facebook Boycott," 24 June 2020 This week, those groups called for advertisers to boycott the company in July. Coral Murphy, USA TODAY, "Under fire from civil rights groups, Facebook highlights Black stories, pledges to hire more African Americans," 18 June 2020 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

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

9 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Boycott.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 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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