black +‎ ball



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. A kind of large black sweet; a niggerball.
  4. 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.