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See more synonyms for bootleg on Thesaurus.com
  1. alcoholic liquor unlawfully made, sold, or transported, without registration or payment of taxes.
  2. the part of a boot that covers the leg.
  3. 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.
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verb (used with object), boot·legged, boot·leg·ging.
  1. to deal in (liquor or other goods) unlawfully.
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verb (used without object), boot·legged, boot·leg·ging.
  1. to make, transport, or sell something, especially liquor, illegally or without registration or payment of taxes.
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  1. made, sold, or transported unlawfully.
  2. illegal or clandestine.
  3. of or relating to bootlegging.
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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 formsboot·leg·ger, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

contraband, illicit, unauthorized, pirated, bootlegged, unlawful, unofficial, black-market, under-the-counter, unsanctioned

Examples from the Web for bootleg

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British Dictionary definitions for bootleg


verb -legs, -legging or -legged
  1. to make, carry, or sell (illicit goods, esp alcohol)
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  1. something made or sold illicitly, such as alcohol during Prohibition in the US
  2. an illegally made copy of a CD, tape, etc
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  1. produced, distributed, or sold illicitlybootleg whisky; bootleg tapes
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Derived Formsbootlegger, noun

Word Origin

C17: see boot 1, 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

Word Origin and History for bootleg


"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper