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[blak-list] /ˈblækˌlɪst/
a list of persons under suspicion, disfavor, censure, etc.:
His record as an anarchist put him on the government's blacklist.
a list privately exchanged among employers, containing the names of persons to be barred from employment because of untrustworthiness or for holding opinions considered undesirable.
a list drawn up by a labor union, containing the names of employers to be boycotted for unfair labor practices.
verb (used with object)
to put (a person, group, company, etc.) on a blacklist.
Compare whitelist.
Origin of blacklist
First recorded in 1610-20; black + list1
4. blackball, bar, debar, proscribe, ban, shun, ostracize. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for black list
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But if it be, Rose, thou wist they have our names in their black list of heretics.

    The King's Daughters Emily Sarah Holt
  • Well-nigh a quarter of the crew at a time were on the black list.

    Dick Cheveley W. H. G. Kingston
  • Fred and Eustace were a few of those who escaped the black list.

    Fables in Slang George Ade
  • It is useless to continue in the shed when you have been stigmatised with the black list.

    Life in a Railway Factory Alfred Williams
  • At the worst the "black list" just crept over the 100 limit.

    G. H. Q. Frank Fox
  • I refused my parole, and was down in a black list of the Turks.

    The Secrets of a Kuttite Edward O. Mousley
British Dictionary definitions for black list


a list of persons or organizations under suspicion, or considered untrustworthy, disloyal, etc, esp one compiled by a government or an organization
(transitive) to put on a blacklist
Derived Forms
blacklisting, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for black list



also black-list, black list, "list of persons who have incurred suspicion," 1610s, from black (adj.), here indicative of disgrace, censure, punishment (attested from 1590s, in black book) + list (n.). Specifically of employers' list of workers considered troublesome (usually for union activity) is from 1888. As a verb, from 1718. Related: Blacklisted; blacklisting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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black list in Culture

blacklist definition

Concerted action by employers to deny employment to someone suspected of unacceptable opinions or behavior. For example, individual workers suspected of favoring labor unions have often been blacklisted by all the employers in a region.

Note: During the McCarthy era (see Joseph P. McCarthy) in the 1950s, the careers of many public figures suspected of communist activities were ruined by blacklisting.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for black list



A list of banned or undesirable people: the blacklist for the event


To put someone's name on a list of the banned or undesirable: blacklisted during college

Related Terms


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with black list

black list

A list of persons or things considered undesirable or deserving punishment, as in Japanese beetles are on my black list of garden pests. The practice of making such lists is quite old. Notorious examples include the late 19th-century black lists of union members whom employers would not hire and the black lists of persons suspected of being Communists as a result of the hearings held by Senator Joseph R. McCarthy in the early 1950s. Today the term is also used more loosely, as in the example. [ Early 1600s ]
Also see: black book, def. 1.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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