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 Announcing his decision last week to boycott Trump's appearance, Johnson referred to immigration as well as the president's past comments about people of color. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "Donald Trump blasts Chicago's police superintendent, Jussie Smollett in speech to cops," 28 Oct. 2019 Meanwhile, the Hong Kong protests have sparked anger in China, and Cathay is now being boycotted by travelers on the mainland. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Cathay Pacific is stuck between a rock and a hard place—Hong Kong and mainland China," 10 Aug. 2019 That prompted the departure of Sarah Sands, the editor of the Today program on BBC radio, which has been boycotted by the government since last month’s election because of complaints about how its officials were treated on the air. Mark Landler, New York Times, "Johnson and BBC Trade Jabs, as War on the Press Flares," 5 Feb. 2020 Beach Boys members Brian Wilson and Al Jardine are boycotting the touring group's performance. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, "'Dream hunt' with Donald Trump Jr. for trophy animals starts bidding at $10,000," 4 Feb. 2020 The Brexit 50p coin is missing an oxford comma and should be boycotted by all literate people. Anna Russell, The New Yorker, "Mourning Brexit with the Mayor of London," 1 Feb. 2020 Kurdish and most Sunni lawmakers boycotted the Parliament session to vote on the expulsion of U.S. troops, but a nonbinding resolution passed anyway with the backing of a majority of Shiite lawmakers. Isabel Coles, WSJ, "Iraq’s Caretaker Prime Minister Leaves Decision Whether to Expel U.S. Troops to Successor," 15 Jan. 2020 Faced with a threat of Arab nations boycotting Brazil’s agricultural exports, Bolsonaro ultimately decided to open a commercial office in Jerusalem rather than move the embassy. Washington Post, "Brazil says Iran summoned its chargé d’affaires after note," 7 Jan. 2020 Those who refused felt the full force of CORE protesters demonstrating in the streets and boycotting with their pocketbooks. Talis Shelbourne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Pioneer of racial equity John Givens III dies at the age of 83," 7 Jan. 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

26 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Boycott.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 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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