Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


English Wikipedia has an article on:


From blackbird +‎ -ing, suggestedly from the putative slang blackbird (indigenous Pacific islander).


  • (file)


blackbirding (uncountable)

  1. (Britain, Australia) The practice of kidnapping Pacific Islanders, or kanakas, for sale as cheap labour.
    • 1995, John Gunn, Taking Risks, QBE 1886-1994: A History of the QBE Insurance Group[1], page 9:
      Burns Philp was to incur public odium in the most notorious case in Queensland concerning blackbirding.
    • 2004, Lawrence McCane, Marist Brothers, Melanesian stories: Marist Brothers in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea 1845–2003, page 120,
      Douglas Oliver, in Black Islanders, tells the story of a blackbirding party which, in 1871, captured a group of eighty-five unsuspecting Bougainvilleans who had taken their twenty-man canoes to the blackbirding ship out of curiosity or a desire to trade.
    • 2008, Andrew David Grainger, The Browning of the All Blacks: Pacific Peoples, Rugby, and the Cultural Politics of Identity in New Zealand[2], page 326:
      Blackbirding was the euphemism given to the slave-trading that occurred in the Pacific from the mid-1800s through to the early-1900s. According to one study, blackbirding, [as] “the practice of luring Melanesians and Polynesians to toil for next to nothing was called”, involved upwards of 60,000 people between 1863 and 1904 (Horne, 2007, p. 2).

Related terms[edit]



  1. present participle of blackbird