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Meaning: the withdrawal of support, or the refusal to buy or use something, as a form of protest or activism; (also a verb)

For example:

  • There was a week-long boycott of classes at the university following the closure of the local library.

  • The elderly residents boycotted the transit system to protest the proposed fare increase.

Origin: Charles C. Boycott (1832-1897) was a land agent who refused to reduce the cost of rent in Ireland in the late 1800s. Farmers who were his tenants held a campaign against Boycott. They refused to provide labour for him or sell to him. He eventually had to move away.

Quick Quiz:

Which of the following is an example of a boycott?

a. refraining from buying cosmetics made from animal products

b. arguing with a landlord about the right to keep pets

c. not paying a parking ticket on time out of laziness

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Contributor: Tara Benwell