AP Style Boycott, Embargo

A boycott and an embargo are actually two distinct terms, each with their own specific meaning. Here are their differences and how to use them both in AP Style.


A boycott is an organized refusal to buy a product or service, or to deal with a particular business or merchant or group of businesses and merchants. For example,

  • We should start a boycott to make the merchants better service our needs.


An embargo is a legal restriction against trade. It usually prohibits goods from entering or leaving a country. For example,

  • The Senate today debated the continuation of the embargo against Cuba.

The plural form is embargoes.


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