smuggle

verb
smug·​gle | \ ˈsmə-gəl How to pronounce smuggle (audio) \
smuggled; smuggling\ ˈsmə-​g(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce smuggling (audio) \

Definition of smuggle

transitive verb

1 : to import or export secretly contrary to the law and especially without paying duties imposed by law
2 : to convey or introduce surreptitiously

intransitive verb

: to import or export something in violation of the customs laws

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Examples of smuggle in a Sentence

He was arrested for smuggling drugs into the country. They smuggled immigrants across the border. The paintings had been smuggled out of the country before the war. We smuggled his favorite sandwich past the nurse.
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Recent Examples on the Web At this time of the year, Border Patrol officials in Arizona see a seasonal uptick in the number of rescues of migrants either smuggled inside vehicles or out in the desert attempting to walk across the border. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Driver caught smuggling 14 migrants hidden inside pickup truck near Douglas," 6 May 2020 Iran has exported drone technology to Yemen’s Houthi rebels, smuggling parts on dhows that ply the trade routes from Iran to North Africa. Seth J. Frantzman, National Review, "The U.S. Risks Losing the Drone-War Arms Race," 4 May 2020 Gary Lauck, the leader of NSDAP/AO, an American neo-Nazi party, used to rely on snail mail to smuggle neo-Nazi propaganda into Germany and other European countries where it’s been banned. ProPublica, "The Hate Store: Amazon’s Self-Publishing Arm Is a Haven for White Supremacists," 8 Apr. 2020 Starting with tissue samples from 18 Sunda pangolins seized in anti-smuggling operations in 2017 and 2018, researchers tested for the presence of coronaviruses. National Geographic, "THE BEST OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX," 26 Mar. 2020 Dissident writers scrambled for ways to smuggle their manuscripts out of the country. Coco Fusco, The New York Review of Books, "Love Among the Ruins," 24 Mar. 2020 Backpacking is not free, I was told: Migrants may pay gangs up to $100 for the right to smuggle a backpack of contraband. Paola Díaz, The Conversation, "Migrants at US-Mexico border must get past cartels before their long journey ends," 18 Mar. 2020 Low profile and hard to spot, narcosubs allow drug cartels to smuggle large numbers of their goods while evading traditional customs and drug enforcement inspections. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Why Our Seas Are Suddenly Swimming With Drug-Running Narcosubs," 4 Mar. 2020 China’s on-going attempts to smuggle US space technology out of the country. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "2019: The year in heists and capers," 24 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'smuggle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of smuggle

1687, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for smuggle

Low German smuggeln & Dutch smokkelen

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Time Traveler for smuggle

Time Traveler

The first known use of smuggle was in 1687

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Statistics for smuggle

Last Updated

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Smuggle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/smuggle. Accessed 30 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for smuggle

smuggle

verb
How to pronounce smuggle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of smuggle

: to move (someone or something) from one country into another illegally and secretly
informal : to take or bring (something) secretly

smuggle

verb
smug·​gle | \ ˈsmə-gəl How to pronounce smuggle (audio) \
smuggled; smuggling

Kids Definition of smuggle

1 : to export or import secretly and unlawfully They smuggled stolen goods.
2 : to take or bring secretly It had been my intention to smuggle a couple of sandwiches …— Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee

Other Words from smuggle

smuggler \ ˈsmə-​glər \ noun

smuggle

verb
smug·​gle | \ ˈsmə-gəl How to pronounce smuggle (audio) \
smuggled; smuggling

Legal Definition of smuggle

transitive verb

: to import or export secretly and illegally especially to avoid paying duties or to evade enforcement of laws smuggle drugs convicted of smuggling weapons

intransitive verb

: to export or import something in violation of customs laws

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More from Merriam-Webster on smuggle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for smuggle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with smuggle

Spanish Central: Translation of smuggle

Nglish: Translation of smuggle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of smuggle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on smuggle

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