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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 blacklist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The discussion was as profitless as that arising from the blacklist.

  • He'll blacklist you in every yacht club from Bar Harbor to Miami.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • It does not need to use a "blacklist" because the employers are all combined in one "person."


    John Dewey and James Hayden Tufts
  • Commissioner Wright: "Have you any other evidence of the existence of a blacklist?"

    The Pullman Boycott W. F. Burns
  • "I don't think you have any cause to blacklist Mr. Norcross," I said.

    The Wreckers Francis Lynde
British Dictionary definitions for blacklist


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 blacklist

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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blacklist 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 blacklist



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



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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