- to vote against (a candidate, applicant, etc.).
- to exclude socially; ostracize: The whole town blackballed them.
- to reject (a candidate) by placing a blackball in the ballot box.
- a negative vote, especially in deciding on an applicant or candidate.
- a black ball placed in a ballot box signifying a negative vote.
Origin of blackball
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for blackball
A radio executive said the Bush White House told them explicitly who they were expected to blackball from their airwaves.Karl Rove's Flameout
October 22, 2010
Citi, however, is setting the standard, as epitomized by its Mike Mayo blackball.Do Banks Still Play Us for Fools?
September 13, 2010
Hand them around; blackball them; sound the alarm of mad dog.
How had he, a useless old fogy, dared to blackball a man like Iver?Tristram of Blent
Beaten by a blackball called Carlton—I'd hate to see him now.Letters of a Dakota Divorcee
Snooks does not any more think it gentlemanlike to blackball attorneys.The Book of Snobs
William Makepeace Thackeray
They let a victim go there until they get all and then they blackball him.The Vice Bondage of a Great City or the Wickedest City in the World
Robert O. Harland
- a negative vote or veto
- a black wooden ball used to indicate disapproval or to veto in a vote
- NZ a hard boiled sweet with black-and-white stripes
- to vote against in a ballot
- to exclude (someone) from a group, profession, etc; ostracize
Word Origin and History for blackball
A rejection of an applicant's membership in a private organization, such as a club or fraternity. The term is derived from the traditional practice of members voting anonymously on admitting new members, using either a white marble (acceptance) or a black marble (denial). Acceptance must be unanimous; therefore, one black marble in the ballot box is enough to keep the applicant out of the organization.