Definition of contraband in English:

contraband

Syllabification: con·tra·band
Pronunciation: /ˈkäntrəˌband
 
/

noun

  • 1Goods that have been imported or exported illegally: the police looked for drugs, guns, and other contraband
    More example sentences
    • It means that if a policeman tries to use illegally obtained contraband as evidence to charge a suspect, the court will readily strike down such illicit evidence.
    • On the contrary, the moment a book becomes illegal contraband it is suddenly all the more desirable.
    • With legal imports in 1998 of $15 billion, contraband accounted for 25 percent of all imports.
  • 1.1Trade in smuggled goods: the government has declared a nationwide war on contraband
    More example sentences
    • It survived on contraband and piracy, trading cattle, hides, sugar, tobacco, and foodstuffs directly with other nations.
    • With caves, coves and beaches round the island, there was many a hiding place for smugglers, and contraband was a way of life on Portland - with even the man employed by the government to put a stop to the practice deeply involved.
    • But like drugs, and alcohol during Prohibition, black-market contraband always provides a means to acquire whatever is the forbidden fruit of the moment.
    Synonyms
    smuggling, illegal traffic, black marketeering, bootlegging; the black market
  • 1.2 (also contraband of war) Goods forbidden to be supplied by neutrals to those engaged in war.
    More example sentences
    • Lincoln also was the first Commander-in-Chief to declare medicines contraband of war.
    • International law has not precisely defined all classes of goods that are contraband of war per se.
    • Neutral goods, with the exception of contraband of war, are not liable to capture under enemy's flag.
  • 1.3(During the US Civil War) a black slave who escaped or was transported across Union lines.
    More example sentences
    • They worked only at night, riding from plantation to plantation, stopping black people, searching their homes for contraband and whipping any slave caught traveling without a written pass.
    • In May 1861, General Benjamin F. Butler declared slaves who fled to the Union army headquartered at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, to be contraband of war - that is, enemy property open to confiscation by Union troops.

adjective

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  • 1Imported or exported illegally, either in defiance of a total ban or without payment of duty: contraband drug shipments
    More example sentences
    • He has been charged with attempting to smuggle contraband drugs.
    • Many contraband items such as drugs are smuggled in without being declared even though it is common knowledge that the drugs trade exists.
    • This lust for profit means they will trade in anything that makes money: drugs, contraband goods, even illegal immigrants.
    Synonyms
    smuggled, black-market, bootleg, under the counter, illegal, illicit, unlawful; prohibited, banned, proscribed, forbidden
    informal hot
  • 1.1Relating to traffic in illegal goods: the contraband market
    More example sentences
    • We will take the fight to all those involved in piracy and contraband trafficking.
    • Other government figures said the dispatch of soldiers to the border was to curb contraband traffic in the region.
    • The intent, apparently, was to patrol an area that was known for contraband trafficking, but it was an undocumented mission.

Derivatives

contrabandist

noun
More example sentences
  • He suggested that they be sent back to Africa, an idea which the contrabandists fiercely rejected.
  • Meanwhile, the military government looked the other way as the merchants and contrabandists made thousands.
  • In this case inevitably our small country becomes a base for drug smugglers, arms contrabandists and terrorists of all stripes.

Origin

late 16th century: from Spanish contrabanda, from Italian contrabando, from contra- 'against' + bando 'proclamation, ban'.

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