To abstain from or act together in abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with as an expression of protest or disfavor or as a means of coercion. See Synonyms at blackball.
The act or an instance of boycotting.
Origin: After Charles C. Boycott (1832-1897), English land agent in Ireland.
Word History: Charles C. Boycott seems to have become a household word because of his strong sense of duty to his employer. An Englishman and former British soldier, Boycott was the estate agent of the Earl of Erne in County Mayo, Ireland. The earl was one of the absentee landowners who as a group held most of the land in Ireland. Boycott was chosen in the fall of 1880 to be the test case for a new policy advocated by Charles Parnell, an Irish politician who wanted land reform. Any landlord who would not charge lower rents or any tenant who took over the farm of an evicted tenant would be given the complete cold shoulder by Parnell's supporters. Boycott refused to charge lower rents and ejected his tenants. At this point members of Parnell's Irish Land League stepped in, and Boycott and his family found themselves isolated—without servants, farmhands, service in stores, or mail delivery. Boycott's name was quickly adopted as the term for this treatment, not just in English but in other languages such as French, Dutch, German, and Russian.
To refuse to conduct business or deal with a particular organization. For example, members of a labor union may boycott a business that fails to recognize the union as a bargaining agent for the firm's employees. See also hot cargo, primary boycott, secondary boycott.
agreement among competitors to not have any dealings with a person, company, or
organization. A boycott can violate the law if it is used to force another
party to pay higher prices or in any way restrict competition. If boycotts are
launched to prevent a company from entering a market, they are illegal. Often
boycotts are used by consumer or social action groups to prompt a company to
change its behavior or policies that are deemed harmful to the group.
A concerted action by two or more individuals or
entities to avoid commercial dealings with a business or to induce others to
take the same action. This may include the refusal to work for the business and
to purchase or distribute the company’s products. While peaceful boycotts are
generally legal, boycotts that use coercion or intimidation to prevent others
from dealing with the targeted business are not.
A concerted refusal of consumers to purchase the products or
services of a business to indicate displeasure with the manufacturer, seller,
or provider of the product.
A concerted refusal of a group of competing businesses to conduct
commercial transactions with a company with whom they would otherwise do
business. Such boycotts are illegal under the Sherman Antitrust Act.
A union-organized boycott of an employer with which the union’s
membership have a labor dispute. For example, a union involved in a dispute
over wages with a business may encourage customers not to buy that company’s
A boycott of a
targeted company’s customers or suppliers with whom the boycotters have no
direct dispute to compel those customers and suppliers to refrain from doing
business with the targeted company. Such boycotts are illegal under the
Taft-Hartley Act if organized by a union.