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
The indictment returned last week but announced Wednesday alleges the 35 defendants plotted for more than two years to buy contraband cigarettes in St. Louis and resell them in Illinois and New Jersey.
But at the state’s maximum-security prisons, employees bring in most of the contraband, prison leaders acknowledge.
In addition, smuggling of contraband — including illicit drugs, cigarettes and cellphones — by corrupt officers has fueled more violence, particularly among inmate gangs.
Over those same years, the share of stops in which officers detained people to frisk them increased, as did the share in which officers used force, made arrests and seized guns and contraband, like drugs.
In addition to forming the corruption and fraud task force, ADOC has increased facility inspections and searches and is in the process of installing new body scanners in its facilities for finding and detecting contraband.
A corrections officer at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola has been arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle drugs and contraband into the prison, Department of Corrections spokesman Ken Pastorick said Saturday (May 27).
Unlike other Silk Road sellers, who shipping physical contraband ranging from heroin to cocaine to guns, Wattigney's transactions may seem relatively benign: mere counterfeit images and software tools.
The man in the hoodie slings the bag of digital contraband over his shoulder.
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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