When you blackball someone, you ban him from a group. A bunch of kids who kick a tattletale out of their secret club essentially blackball him.

You can use blackball as a noun or a verb — a blackball is an act of excluding or ostracizing someone. Country club members might initiate a blackball against an eccentric member who wears tie dyed t-shirts on the golf course, for example. The origin of the word goes back to the 1700s, when club members would cast secret votes on membership using white and black wooden or ivory balls. The black balls represented "no" votes.

Definitions of blackball
  1. verb
    vote against; refuse to endorse; refuse to assent
    synonyms: negative, veto
    see moresee less
    defeat, kill, shoot down, vote down, vote out
    thwart the passage of
    type of:
    contradict, controvert, oppose
    be resistant to
  2. verb
    expel from a community or group
    synonyms: ban, banish, cast out, ostracise, ostracize, shun
    see moresee less
    type of:
    expel, kick out, throw out
    force to leave or move out
  3. noun
    the act of excluding someone by a negative vote or veto
    synonyms: barring
    see moresee less
    type of:
    ejection, exclusion, expulsion, riddance
    the act of forcing out someone or something
Word Family
F1 image

Express yourself in 25 languages

  • Learn immersively - no memorization required
  • Build skills for real-world conversations
  • Get immediate feedback on your pronunciation
Get started for $7.99/month