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

Image The United Nations on Friday completed an agreement on improved ways to handle the global flow of migrants — a pact particularly notable because it was boycotted by a huge and influential member, the United States. Megan Specia, New York Times, "U.N. Agrees on Migration Pact, but U.S. Is Conspicuously Absent," 13 July 2018 The Yankees had threatened to boycott ESPN reporters if they were forced to play three games in two cities over a 24-hour span. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, "ESPN agrees to move N.Y. Yankees out of 'Sunday Night Baseball' slot," 5 June 2018 Some even threatened to boycott the show over the departure, a sentiment that the actress seemed to back by liking posts on Twitter. Stephanie Petit,, "Erinn Hayes Talks Moving on From Kevin Can Wait to 'Beautiful' Amazon Series," 2 Apr. 2018 The vote was boycotted by anti-secession parties (just like a similar 2014 referendum), and subjected to a crackdown by Madrid. Ian Bremmer, Time, "The 5 Most Wanted Geopolitical Fugitives of 2018," 30 Jan. 2018 Farhadi, an acclaimed Iranian director, earned worldwide press last year for boycotting the Oscars during Donald Trump’s travel ban (his acclaimed film, The Salesman, went on to win best foreign film). Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY, "Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz get standing ovation on Cannes opening night for 'Everybody Knows'," 9 May 2018 The premise of boycotting may be simple, but doing it in a way that is both effective and ethical can require both research and introspection. Sarah Shemkus,, "Think before you boycott," 21 Apr. 2018 And a Portland, Ore., blog,, reported that bike shops there had mixed reactions to boycotting Vista Outdoor products. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, "Cyclists urged to boycott bike gear tied to gunmaker Vista Outdoor," 26 Feb. 2018 O'Neill has riled Democrats by boycotting the Cleveland Browns and supporting General John Kelly's criticism of a Democratic Congresswoman. Jessie Balmert,, "Ohio Senate starts process to remove Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O'Neill," 17 Jan. 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

3 Dec 2018

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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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