verb (used with object)
to vote against (a candidate, applicant, etc.).
to exclude socially; ostracize: The whole town blackballed them.
to reject (a candidate) by placing a blackball in the ballot box.
a negative vote, especially in deciding on an applicant or candidate.
a black, ball placed in a ballot box signifying a negative vote.

1760–70; black + ball1

blackballer, noun

2. boycott, ban, debar, snub, cut. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
blackball (ˈblækˌbɔːl)
1.  a negative vote or veto
2.  a black wooden ball used to indicate disapproval or to veto in a vote
3.  (NZ) a hard boiled sweet with black-and-white stripes
4.  to vote against in a ballot
5.  to exclude (someone) from a group, profession, etc; ostracize
[C18: see sense 2]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"to exclude from a club by adverse votes," 1770, from black + ball (1). Black balls of wood or ivory dropped into an urn during secret ballots.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

blackball definition

A rejection of an applicant's membership in a private organization, such as a club or fraternity. The term is derived from the traditional practice of members voting anonymously on admitting new members, using either a white marble (acceptance) or a black marble (denial). Acceptance must be unanimous; therefore, one black marble in the ballot box is enough to keep the applicant out of the organization.

Note: The term is now applied generally to efforts — especially unreasonable or vengeful actions — to keep a people or groups out of organizations they wish to join.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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