Definition of contraband
1 : illegal or prohibited traffic in goods : smuggling … persons the most bound in duty to prevent contraband … — Edmund Burke
2 : goods or merchandise whose importation, exportation, or possession is forbidden Border police searched the car for drugs and other contraband.; also : smuggled goods
3 : a slave who during the American Civil War escaped to or was brought within the Union lines
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Examples of contraband in a Sentence
The border police searched the car for drugs and other contraband.
Recent Examples of contraband from the Web
Brothers Jean and Pierre Lafitte used their establishment to smuggle contraband into New Orleans from foreign merchants and avoid income taxes.
This is not the first instance a drone was used to deliver contraband materials to inmates in South Carolina.
A recurring message from such dramas is that as long as demand persists -- and with it, big money peddling contraband -- someone will always be tempted to feed it.
As of Thursday, officers had seized more than 600 pounds of contraband.
Prosecutors pursuing the contraband case collected hundreds of recordings of inmates speaking with their attorneys, both on video and on the phone.
Previous searches uncovered drugs, weapons and other contraband.
Bolton has been called twice this year before the Metro Council's Public Safety Committee to answer questions on jail contraband, staffing levels inmate releases.
No alcohol, drones, pets, or contraband (weapons, knives, etc.) will be allowed. •
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contraband.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Contraband first appeared in English in the early 1500s as a borrowing of Italian contrabbando. This Italian word can be traced to the Medieval Latin word contrabannum, a combination of "contra-" ("against") and "bannum" ("decree"). "Bannum" is Germanic in origin and is related to Old High German bannan ("to command"). "Bannan" is also related to Middle English "bannen" ("to summon or to curse"), the source of the English verb "ban" (which now means "to prohibit" but which once also meant "to curse").
CONTRABAND Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of contraband for English Language Learners
: things that are brought into or out of a country illegally
CONTRABAND Defined for Kids
Definition of contraband for Students
: goods forbidden by law to be owned or to be brought into or out of a country
Legal Definition of contraband
: property that is unlawfully produced, possessed, or transported contraband per se : property that is in and of itself unlawful to possess, produce, or transport derivative contraband : property that is unlawful because it is used in committing an unlawful act
Origin and Etymology of contraband
Italian contrabbando act of smuggling, from contra- against + bando edict, law
Seen and Heard
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