verb (used with object)

to combine in abstaining from, or preventing dealings with, as a means of intimidation or coercion: to boycott a store.
to abstain from buying or using: to boycott foreign products.


the practice of boycotting.
an instance of boycotting.

Origin of boycott

after Charles C. Boycott (1832–97), English estate manager in Ireland, against whom nonviolent coercive tactics were used in 1880
Related formsboy·cott·er, nounan·ti·boy·cott, noun, adjectivepro·boy·cott, adjective
Can be confusedboycott embargo Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for boycott

Contemporary Examples of boycott

Historical Examples of boycott

  • The sanction of the caste rules is in a boycott by all members of the caste.


    William Graham Sumner

  • But in a year they were trembling in the face of that boycott.

  • The boycott continues, but it is dwindling in intensity and will soon subside.

    Peking Dust

    Ellen N. La Motte

  • Indignation meetings were held, and it was determined to boycott the monks.

    Las Casas

    Alice J. Knight

  • This may vary from the "cold shoulder" to the complete "boycott."

British Dictionary definitions for boycott



(tr) to refuse to have dealings with (a person, organization, etc) or refuse to buy (a product) as a protest or means of coercionto boycott foreign produce


an instance or the use of boycotting

Word Origin for boycott

C19: after Captain C. C. Boycott (1832–97), Irish land agent for the Earl of Erne, County Mayo, Ireland, who was a victim of such practices for refusing to reduce rents



Geoff (rey). born 1940, English cricketer: played for Yorkshire (1962–86); played in 108 test matches (1964–1982); first England batsman to score 8,000 test runs
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 boycott

1880, noun and verb, from Irish Land League ostracism of Capt. Charles C. Boycott (1832-1897), land agent of Lough-Mask in County Mayo, who refused to lower rents for his tenant farmers. Quickly adopted by newspapers in languages as far afield as Japanese (boikotto). The family name is from a place in England.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

boycott in Culture


The refusal to purchase the products of an individual, corporation, or nation as a way to bring social and political pressure for change.

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.