Today I learned the real history behind the term blackball. When deciding to allow a new nun into the offical ranks of the church, existing nuns form a circle and pass around a bag. Each nun either puts in a white or a black marble. If the would-be nun gets a black marble, she is kicked out of the ...umm...nunnery, or whatever you call it. Hence the term "blackball."

Black"ball` (?), n.

1.

A composition for blacking shoes, boots, etc.; also, one for taking impressions of engraved work.

2.

A ball of black color, esp. one used as a negative in voting; -- in this sense usually two words.

 

© Webster 1913.


Black"ball`, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Blackballed (); p. pr. & vb. n. Blackballing.]

1.

To vote against, by putting a black ball into a ballot box; to reject or exclude, as by voting against with black balls; to ostracize.

He was blackballed at two clubs in succession. Thackeray.

2.

To blacken (leather, shoes, etc.) with blacking.

 

© Webster 1913.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.