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

Synonyms for blacklist Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for blacklist

Contemporary Examples of blacklist

Historical Examples of blacklist

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

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

  • 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?"

  • "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


(tr) to put on a blacklist
Derived Formsblacklisting, 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

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

blacklist in Culture


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.


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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.