- (formerly) the act or practice of kidnapping persons, especially Kanakas, and selling them abroad as slaves.
Origin of blackbirding
- a common European thrush, Turdus merula, the male of which is black with a yellow bill.
- any of several American birds of the family Icteridae, having black plumage.Compare crow blackbird, red-winged blackbird, rusty blackbird.
- any of several other unrelated birds having black plumage in either or both sexes.
- (formerly) a person, especially a Kanaka, who was kidnapped and sold abroad, usually in Australia, as a slave.
- to kidnap (a person), as in blackbirding.
- to engage in blackbirding.
Origin of blackbird
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for blackbirding
I had had some experience in blackbirding before I went pearling in the Paumotus.South Sea Tales
A man might have been made by copra or by pearls—or by blackbirding.
I sailed in the teak-built ketch, the Minota, on a blackbirding cruise to Malaita, and I took my wife along.Jerry of the Islands
What, and be sent down here hunting after the blackbirding blackguards?The Ocean Cat's Paw
George Manville Fenn
The traders were only too glad to get new recruits without the expense of blackbirding them.Through the South Seas with Jack London
- a common European thrush, Turdus merula, in which the male has a black plumage and yellow bill and the female is brown
- any of various American orioles having a dark plumage, esp any of the genus Agelaius
- history a person, esp a South Sea Islander, who was kidnapped and sold as a slave, esp in Australia
- (tr) (formerly) to kidnap and sell into slavery
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
Word Origin and History for blackbirding
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper