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[blak-bawl] /ˈblækˌbɔl/
verb (used with object)
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
First recorded in 1760-70; black + ball1
Related forms
blackballer, noun
2. boycott, ban, debar, snub, cut. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for blackball


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
verb (transitive)
to vote against in a ballot
to exclude (someone) from a group, profession, etc; ostracize
Word Origin
C18: see sense 2
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 blackball

also black-ball, "to exclude from a club by adverse votes," 1770, from black (adj.) + ball (n.1). Black balls of wood or ivory dropped into an urn during secret ballots.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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blackball in Culture

blackball definition

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.

Note: The term is now applied generally to efforts — especially unreasonable or vengeful actions — to keep a people or groups out of organizations they wish to join.
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 blackball



To punish someone by denial of work, boycotting of products, etc •Both terms come fr the 1700s and meant ''to ostracize''; the modern specialized sense appears to have developed in the labor troubles of the 1890s: Some members of the Twilight Zone movie crew say they are being blackballed

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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