Definition of bootleg in English:


Syllabification: boot·leg
Pronunciation: /ˈbo͞otˌleg


  • (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] Back to top  
  • 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.


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  • 1An illegal musical recording, especially one made at a concert.
    More 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 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.



More 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.

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