[smuhg-uh l]

verb (used with object), smug·gled, smug·gling.

to import or export (goods) secretly, in violation of the law, especially without payment of legal duty.
to bring, take, put, etc., surreptitiously: She smuggled the gun into the jail inside a cake.

verb (used without object), smug·gled, smug·gling.

to import, export, or convey goods surreptitiously or in violation of the law.

Origin of smuggle

1680–90; < Low German smuggeln; cognate with German schmuggeln
Related formssmug·gler, nounan·ti·smug·gling, adjectiveun·smug·gled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for smuggling

trafficking, stealing

Examples from the Web for smuggling

Contemporary Examples of smuggling

Historical Examples of smuggling

  • This signal was soon answered, and then it was look out for the smuggling boats!

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • It was said that he had made a good deal of money by smuggling goods into the States.

  • I wish to know, Captain Ducie, if you have anything to say to this ship in the way of smuggling?

    Homeward Bound

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Or because I was dangerous, prying into their smuggling activities.

  • He was very poor—few of the Basques are rich—and he was in danger because of the smuggling.

    Louisiana Lou

    William West Winter

British Dictionary definitions for smuggling



to import or export (prohibited or dutiable goods) secretly
(tr; often foll by into or out of) to bring or take secretly, as against the law or rules
(tr foll by away) to conceal; hide
Derived Formssmuggler, nounsmuggling, noun

Word Origin for smuggle

C17: from Low German smukkelen and Dutch smokkelen, perhaps from Old English smūgen to creep; related to Old Norse smjūga
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 smuggling



"import or export secretly and contrary to law," 1680s, of Low German or Dutch origin (see smuggler). Related: Smuggled; smuggling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper