General English

  • verb to refuse to deal with someone


  • noun a refusal to buy or to deal in certain products
  • verb to refuse to buy or deal in a product


  • To protest by refusing to purchase from someone, or otherwise do business with them. In international trade, a boycott most often takes the form of refusal to import a country's goods.


  • noun a refusal to buy or to deal in goods from a country or company, used as a punishment

Origin & History of “boycott”

The word boycott sprang into general use in the year 1880, to describe the activities of the Irish land League. This was an organization set up in 1879 by the Irish nationalist Michael Davitt to press for agrarian reforms, rent reductions, etc. those who did not agree with its aims, it subjected to an organized campaign of ostracism. One of the first to suffer from this was one captain Charles Cunningham Boycott (1832–1897), a British estate manager in County Mayo. Hence ‘to boycott’, which became a buzzword of the early 1880s, was quickly adopted by other European languages, and has remained in current use ever since.