contraband

[ kon-truh-band ]
/ ˈkɒn trəˌbænd /

noun

anything prohibited by law from being imported or exported.
goods imported or exported illegally.
illegal or prohibited trade; smuggling.
International Law. contraband of war.
(during the American Civil War) a black slave who escaped to or was brought within the Union lines.

adjective

prohibited from export or import.

Origin of contraband

1520–30; earlier contrabanda < Spanish < Italian contrabando (now contrabbando), equivalent to contra contra1 + Medieval Latin bandum, variant of bannum ban2

Related forms

non·con·tra·band, noun, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for contraband

British Dictionary definitions for contraband

contraband

/ (ˈkɒntrəˌbænd) /

noun

  1. goods that are prohibited by law from being exported or imported
  2. illegally imported or exported goods
illegal traffic in such goods; smuggling
Also called: contraband of war international law goods that a neutral country may not supply to a belligerent
(during the American Civil War) a Black slave captured by the Union forces or one who escaped to the Union lines

adjective

(of goods)
  1. forbidden by law from being imported or exported
  2. illegally imported or exported

Derived Forms

contrabandist, noun

Word Origin for contraband

C16: from Spanish contrabanda, from Italian contrabando (modern contrabbando), from Medieval Latin contrabannum, from contra- + bannum ban, of Germanic origin
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

Culture definitions for contraband

contraband


Goods illegally transported across borders to avoid the payment of taxes.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.