Definition of boycott in English:



  • 1 Withdraw from commercial or social relations with (a country, organization, or person) as a punishment or protest.

    ‘we will boycott all banks which take part in the loans scheme’
    • ‘The National Rifle Association then boycotted the company, devastating its stock price and destroying the proposed settlement.’
    • ‘I wouldn't dream of boycotting a musician for being a leftist, as long as he keeps it to himself.’
    • ‘Nazi Germany boycotted Jewish artists in all creative fields for being Jewish.’
    • ‘When he talked about boycotting corporations and baseball leagues that racially discriminate in hiring and promotion, blacks were attacked as disruptive.’
    • ‘The Hindu leader also urged the people of Assam to boycott Muslim immigrants economically.’
    • ‘The Israeli academic establishment boycotted him.’
    • ‘Zimbabwe's first black test cricketer has called on international cricketing authorities to boycott his country.’
    • ‘The European Union quickly imposed sanctions on Austria, and numerous private organizations and individuals began to boycott the country.’
    • ‘Mr. Lopez also said that, beginning tonight, his organization will boycott any organization that uses the term illegal alien.’
    • ‘Sport has always been used as a means of enforcing a political viewpoint, whether it is to boycott a country or whether it is to establish diplomatic relations.’
    • ‘It's no use saying that the last time Jews were boycotted in the universities was in 1930s Germany.’
    • ‘I'd love to boycott the US because of it but I have family I'm visiting for Christmas.’
    • ‘Despite rejoicing by white spectators at the end of the trial, most customers at Bryant's store had been black and they boycotted the business, forcing it to close.’
    • ‘O'Reilly agrees not to edit the segment, and to explain in the intro that Michael has only been boycotting him because he walked out of the premiere.’
    • ‘When people in this country were disgusted with apartheid in South Africa, people in sport and entertainment boycotted that country.’
    • ‘For example, three years ago, a Norwegian scientist refused to send the cloned DNA of a red blood cell growth factor to an investigator in Israel because she was boycotting Israeli universities.’
    • ‘Some members have asked why we do not boycott countries such as Sudan or Saudi Arabia that have very bad human rights records.’
    • ‘Let's hope there will not be any form of backlash following this film's release i.e. people boycotting the comedians who were in it.’
    • ‘One reason is that permissive societies that realized that crime does pay did not boycott people who lived a life of misdemeanour and wrongdoing.’
    • ‘We need to boycott these companies before it's too late.’
    spurn, snub, cold-shoulder, shun, avoid, abstain from, stay away from, steer clear of, give a wide berth to, refuse to take part in, turn one's back on, have nothing to do with, wash one's hands of
    ban, bar, reject, veto, embargo, place an embargo on, prohibit, debar, outlaw, proscribe, interdict, blackball, blacklist
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Refuse to buy or handle (goods) as a punishment or protest.
      ‘an advert urges consumers to boycott the firm's coffee’
      • ‘50% said that boycotting Japanese goods will not create enough pressure on the Japanese government’
      • ‘The movement to boycott Japanese goods began in the United States in August 1937.’
      • ‘Some have also come forward to say they plan to boycott Terry's goods - or even all Kraft products - in protest at the decision.’
      • ‘And most U.S. consumers will not boycott French perfume or wine (though Australian Merlot deserves a try).’
      • ‘Do Norwegians and others boycott goods made in factories owned and run by European multinationals that employ adult and child slave labour?’
      • ‘There is the tendency to boycott US goods throughout the region.’
      • ‘Turkish threats to boycott German goods also caused widespread anger.’
      • ‘But members of the Jewish community in Scotland last night condemned plans to boycott Israeli goods.’
      • ‘There have been emails all over the place to boycott US goods.’
      • ‘A call to boycott US goods from drink to meals, from cars to sports wear, would hit corporate America where it hurts.’
      • ‘Community support flooded in with seven councils voting to boycott James Hardie products and the mayors of six others confirming resolutions would go before their next meetings.’
      • ‘Gandhi encouraged Indians to boycott British goods and buy Indian goods instead.’
      • ‘Australian dockyard workers boycotted Dutch goods to be shipped to Indonesia to assist their military operations to gain back their colony.’
      • ‘I was reading a similar article the other day about how Germans are trying to boycott American goods, as they see it as the only way to get America's attention.’
      • ‘His solution has been to boycott particular consumer products.’
      • ‘There's news trickling in about Americans boycotting German goods.’
      • ‘The campaign to encourage shoppers to boycott these goods has started again outside Selfridges in what has now become a test case.’
      • ‘So they will boycott goods in the supermarket that they don't think are ethically sound, or they will seek out particular products and buy them if they think they are ethically sound.’
      • ‘Not that any of this justifies burning flags, closing embassies, boycotting Danish goods or rounding up Scandinavians in Palestine.’
      • ‘Although some angry citizens boycott U.S. products, the U.S. has made it too expensive for the everyday Jamaican consumer.’
      reject, debar, bar, ban, vote against, blacklist, exclude, shut out, leave out in the cold
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Refuse to cooperate with or participate in (a policy or event)
      ‘most parties indicated that they would boycott the election’
      • ‘Efforts to convince the security staff proved futile and at one stage the media threatened to boycott the prime minister's visit.’
      • ‘In the second case, given the high turnout and the low rank of their candidate, the participation of those who boycotted the elections wouldn't have changed the results in any reasonable expectation.’
      • ‘However, the event was boycotted by leading figures and lobby groups who alleged the protest was too politically-motivated.’
      • ‘The Preston-based Captive Animals' Protection Society urged the public to boycott the show being staged on Cronkeyshaw Common.’
      • ‘It is not clear what will happen if opposition parties decide to boycott the Parliament session again today.’
      • ‘A number of contestants boycotted this year's event in Nigeria because of Islamic law, which permits Muslim women be stoned to death.’
      • ‘The Football Supporters Federation are today urging Bantams fans to boycott Saturday's clash with Wimbledon.’
      • ‘The intention of the opposition parties to boycott the poll is irresponsible in the extreme.’
      • ‘It is boycotting the event to raise public awareness at what it sees are the project's flaws.’
      • ‘Outraged that the Wakefield campaign was going to get even more publicity, a number of leading authorities, who had been invited to participate, decided to boycott the debate.’
      • ‘The Catholic Church is so furious with the Edinburgh Dungeon it is urging parents to boycott the attraction.’
      • ‘Most opposition parties chose to boycott these elections, ensuring a landslide victory for the EPRDF.’
      • ‘But some veterans who fought in the Far East believe it is a snub to them and say they will boycott the official event.’
      • ‘Journalists are boycotting Greg Dyke's ‘Big Conversation’ on 15 May where he will launch a new set of ‘BBC Values’.’
      • ‘The funeral directors are threatening to boycott a county council awards ceremony because feelings are running high.’
      • ‘Blaming what it said were hostile U.S. policies, North Korea boycotted a meeting that was to have been held in September.’
      • ‘The 11 senior players who started their protests last week have continued boycotting the team's training sessions at Garden Park stadium.’
      • ‘Later this summer, Parents for Justice also urged its members to boycott the new inquiry.’
      • ‘And to add to the bad times that Omar was going through a rumour had spread like wildfire that he was boycotting national team games.’
      • ‘Tonga and Samoa have threatened to boycott the next World Cup unless they receive a better deal.’
      exclude, shun, spurn, cold-shoulder, give someone the cold shoulder, reject, repudiate, blackball, blacklist, cast off, cast out, shut out, avoid, ignore, snub, cut dead, keep at arm's length, leave out in the cold, bar, ban, debar, banish, exile, expel
      View synonyms


  • A punitive ban on relations with other bodies, cooperation with a policy, or the handling of goods.

    ‘a boycott of the negotiations’
    • ‘But there was not a great enough turnout under the NUT's own rules to sanction a boycott.’
    • ‘They could not overcome the effects of the US boycott and the lack of any popular democracy or mass participation in the organisation of society, an essential feature of any socialist revolution.’
    • ‘Our demands were rejected, so we called for a boycott.’
    • ‘It was rightly condemned in the free world, leading to sanctions and boycotts.’
    • ‘The boycott by the Democratic state senators repeats the tactic employed by Democratic members of the lower house who left Texas as a group three months ago.’
    • ‘Although more than 35,000 members voted, the National Union has ruled that this is not enough to sanction a boycott.’
    • ‘Independent Financial Advisers who sell its policies have threatened boycotts.’
    • ‘There were provisions in relation to the bargaining division in Schedule 8 and provisions in relation to boycotts in Schedule 17.’
    • ‘The union has threatened to call for solidarity actions by its members at all sister newspapers and a boycott of all Media 24 newspapers if its demands are not met.’
    • ‘The awful truth will never go away - and indeed demands continuing exposure, sanctions, boycotts and bans applied to the guilty countries by an indignant world.’
    • ‘We are not in a situation, more precisely, we do not have a relationship of forces that permits an active boycott.’
    • ‘The art scene was still firmly in thrall to the cultural boycott, which restricted South African artists from showing overseas, and overseas artists from showing here.’
    • ‘I have e-mailed the company and also copied my message to the financial investors for the Body Shop, stating that I will begin a boycott of Body Shop products effective immediately.’
    • ‘The grape boycott helped change policy precisely because it did not try to delegitimize a whole society.’
    • ‘Two Australian wool bodies have approached the boycott in very different ways.’
    • ‘The Senate Foreign Relations Committee cannot meet without at least one Democrat present, so a unanimous boycott would delay if not torpedo the nomination.’
    • ‘Union branches up and down the country held meetings attended by unusually large numbers of members and submitted resolutions calling for the boycott to be dropped.’
    • ‘Our call for a boycott is not based on the belief that socialists, in general and in all cases, must refuse to participate in bourgeois elections.’
    • ‘Some SSP members argue for a boycott in the Euro referendum.’
    • ‘The university employers' body also arrogantly dismissed the action, believing the boycott would fizzle out.’
    ban, bar, veto, embargo, moratorium, prohibition, proscription, interdict, injunction, sanction, restriction, barrier
    avoidance, shunning, rejection, refusal
    thumbs down, red light, knock-back
    View synonyms


From the name of Captain Charles C. Boycott (1832–97), an Irish land agent so treated in 1880, in an attempt instigated by the Irish Land League to get rents reduced.