Definition of bootleg in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbo͞otˌleɡ/


(Especially of liquor, computer software, or recordings) made, distributed, or sold illegally: bootleg cassettes bootleg whiskey
More example sentences
  • Alcohol was banned, yet many drank bootleg vodka.
  • Scotland's deputy chief medical officer, Dr Andrew Fraser, warned anyone drinking the bootleg vodka could be in serious danger.
  • In March, one woman died and another was left seriously ill after drinking bootleg vodka.

verb (bootlegs, bootlegging, bootlegged)

[with object]
Make, distribute, or sell (illicit goods, especially liquor, computer software, or recordings) illegally: (as noun bootlegging) domestic bootlegging was almost impossible to control (as adjective bootlegged) bootlegged videos
More example sentences
  • They bootlegged liquor during the depression, then went legit.
  • Trading standards bosses at North Yorkshire County Council say that over the past year, they have discovered a number of pubs putting bootlegged whisky, vodka and rum in popular branded bottles.
  • It's also expected to cut down on the import of cheaper, bootlegged alcohol by lowering the cost of buying legally-ordered supplies.


1An illegal musical recording, especially one made at a concert.
Example sentences
  • In an effort to transcend the dodgy sound quality and high prices of bootlegs, the band has recorded every concert over the past three years.
  • ‘Your article focused on the dance community, but many of us are rock music fans and happen to buy concert bootlegs.’
  • This is one of those Italian bootlegs of live concerts.
2 American Football A play in which the quarterback fakes a handoff and runs with the ball hidden next to his hip: he scored on a 29-yard bootleg on fourth down
More example sentences
  • David Garrard also has had success on quarterback keepers and bootlegs off of play fakes.
  • The way things are going, they're better off passing or running a quarterback sneak or bootleg.
  • He has proved he can catch 1-yard touchdown passes, but he hasn't shown he can get open when there isn't a play-action fake or bootleg.



Pronunciation: /ˈbo͞otˌleɡər/
Example sentences
  • But there is still access to caves along the beach area once used by bootleggers during prohibition to smuggle in illegal booze from offshore boats.
  • Pubs, clubs and people's homes were still the most common places for bootleggers to sell illicit goods.
  • A bootlegger was today behind bars for his part in smuggling £1.6m worth of cigarettes into the country.


Late 19th century: from the smugglers' practice of concealing bottles in their boots.

  • The formation of this word is due to the smugglers' practice of concealing bottles inside the long leg part of their boots. The ultimate source of boot (Middle English) is not known.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: boot·leg

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