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EB1911 - Volume 01 - Page 001 - 1.svg This entry lacks etymological information. If you are familiar with the origin of this term, please add it to the page per etymology instructions. You can also discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.



blackball (plural blackballs)

  1. A rejection, a vote against admitting someone.
  2. A black ball used to indicate such a negative vote.
    Regardless how many other people may have voted to approve a candidate for membership, a single blackball will reject the candidate.
  3. The act of so rejecting someone.
  4. A kind of large black sweet; a niggerball.
  5. A substance for blacking shoes, boots, etc. or for taking impressions of engraved work.


blackball (third-person singular simple present blackballs, present participle blackballing, simple past and past participle blackballed)

  1. (transitive) To vote against, especially in an exclusive organization.
    If you're not from a moneyed, well-connected family, you can count on getting blackballed from the fraternity.
    • 1898, Willa Cather, The Westbound Train
      Why, if I had known you all my life I should have grown up in the condition of Adam before the fall, and they would have blackballed me at the clubs.
  2. (transitive) To ostracize.