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90s Slang You Should Know


[boot-leg] /ˈbutˌlɛg/
alcoholic liquor unlawfully made, sold, or transported, without registration or payment of taxes.
the part of a boot that covers the leg.
something, as a recording, made, reproduced, or sold illegally or without authorization:
a flurry of bootlegs to cash in on the rock star's death.
verb (used with object), bootlegged, bootlegging.
to deal in (liquor or other goods) unlawfully.
verb (used without object), bootlegged, bootlegging.
to make, transport, or sell something, especially liquor, illegally or without registration or payment of taxes.
made, sold, or transported unlawfully.
illegal or clandestine.
of or relating to bootlegging.
Origin of bootleg
1625-35, Americanism; boot1 + leg; secondary senses arose from practice of hiding a liquor bottle in the leg of one's boot
Related forms
bootlegger, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for bootlegger
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It seemed to him that he simply must look around and face the bootlegger.

    The Flying Reporter Lewis E. (Lewis Edwin) Theiss
  • "My dear sir," said the bootlegger, with a pained expression.

  • According to the estimate of the narrator, a bootlegger passes through Malone every eight minutes.

    Pieces of Hate Heywood Broun
  • Are you fellows going to let him in on the bootlegger stuff?

    The Radio Detectives A. Hyatt Verrill
  • Soon he saw that he was flying faster than the bootlegger ahead of him.

    The Flying Reporter Lewis E. (Lewis Edwin) Theiss
  • The gambler and the "bootlegger" and the white slave dealer find their habitat in large centres of population.

    Policing the Plains R.G. MacBeth
  • The only fellow who would dare it is that bootlegger who held you up on your former trip here.

    The Flying Reporter Lewis E. (Lewis Edwin) Theiss
  • To his astonishment the bootlegger climbed into the plane after him, shut the door, and sat down in one of the seats.

    The Flying Reporter Lewis E. (Lewis Edwin) Theiss
British Dictionary definitions for bootlegger


verb -legs, -legging, -legged
to make, carry, or sell (illicit goods, esp alcohol)
something made or sold illicitly, such as alcohol during Prohibition in the US
an illegally made copy of a CD, tape, etc
produced, distributed, or sold illicitly: bootleg whisky, bootleg tapes
Derived Forms
bootlegger, noun
Word Origin
C17: see boot1, leg; from the practice of smugglers of carrying bottles of liquor concealed in their boots
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bootlegger

1889, from bootleg (q.v.).



"leg of a boot," 1630s, from boot (n.1) + leg (n.). As an adjective in reference to illegal iquor, 1889, American English slang, from the trick of concealing a flask of liquor down the leg of a high boot. Before that the bootleg was the place to secret knives and pistols.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bootlegger



A person who bootlegs: 5,000 booters on Manhattan Island alone/ That new bootie carries a powerful line of hooch (1880s+)



: a bottle of bootleg hooch


Whiskey illegally made or sold (1880s+)


  1. To make or sell illegal whiskey and other illegally repackaged products such as music recordings, movies, etc (1906+)
  2. To carry the ball deceptively by holding it against the leg, esp after pretending to hand it off to another player (1950s+ Football)

[fr the idea of concealment in the upper part of one's boots]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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