Student Dictionary

2 entries found for boycott.
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Main Entry: 1boy·cott
Pronunciation: primarystressbodoti-secondarystresskät
Function: verb
Etymology: named for Charles Boycott 1832-1897 estate manager in Ireland
: to join with others in refusing to deal with a person, organization, or country usually to express disapproval or to force acceptance of terms
Word History In 1880 there were many crop failures in Ireland. A famine seemed likely, and the tenants on the farm estates were not able to pay their rents in full. The tenants of one estate asked their estate manager, Charles Boycott, to lower the rents to a level they could pay. He refused and tried to have the tenants removed from the property. As a result, the tenants would not work for Boycott. They went further and forced Boycott's servants to leave him, stopped his mail and food deliveries, and even threatened his life. In short, they made his life wretched without using violence. This treatment of Boycott was reported in the papers, and when other tenants used the same treatment against their estate managers, it was called a "boycott" action. The name was soon being used as a noun and a verb. Now when a boycott is called for, it usually means refusing to do business with someone or to buy a certain product.

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