Found Words: Boycott

Boycott : A boycott is a refusal to buy, sell, or otherwise trade with an individual or business who is generally believed by the participants in the boycott to be doing something morally wrong. It may sometimes be labelled as an “embargo” by its proponents.

Ok, I knew this word, but watching Jeopardy I learned something new: the origin of the word (confirmed via Wikipedia) :

Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott (1823-1897) was born in Norfolk, England, in 1823. He came to Ireland to work as a land agent for Lord Erne, the local landowner in the Lough Mask area of County Mayo in the western part of Ireland.

In 1880, as part of its campaign for the 3Fs (fair rent, fixity of tenure and free sale) to protect tenants from exploitation, the Irish Land League under Michael Davitt withdrew the local labour required to save the harvest on Lord Erne’s estate. When Boycott tried to undermine the campaign the League launched a campaign of isolation against him in the local community. Neighbours would not talk to him. Shops would not serve him. People in church would not talk to him or sit near him. His physical safety was also threatened.

Boycott left Ireland soon after. His name however became immortalised by the creation of the verb to boycott, meaning ‘to ostracise’.

Oh the power of words, good TV, and the wikipedia.

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