Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Goods prohibited by law or treaty from being imported or exported.
  • n. Illegal traffic in contraband; smuggling.
  • n. Smuggled goods.
  • n. Goods that may be seized and confiscated by a belligerent if shipped to another belligerent by a neutral.
  • n. An escaped slave during the Civil War who fled to or was taken behind Union lines.
  • adj. Prohibited from being imported or exported.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. any goods which are illicit or illegal to possess
  • n. goods which are prohibited from being traded, smuggled goods
  • n. A black slave during the American Civil War who had escaped to, or been captured by, Union forces.
  • adj. prohibited from being traded
  • v. To import illegally; to smuggle.
  • v. To declare prohibited; to forbid.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Illegal or prohibited traffic.
  • n. Goods or merchandise the importation or exportation of which is forbidden.
  • n. A negro slave, during the Civil War, escaped to, or was brought within, the Union lines. Such slave was considered contraband of war.
  • adj. Prohibited or excluded by law or treaty; forbidden.
  • transitive v. To import illegally, as prohibited goods; to smuggle.
  • transitive v. To declare prohibited; to forbid.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Prohibited or excluded by proclamation, law, or treaty.
  • n. Illegal or prohibited traffic.
  • n. Anything by law prohibited to be imported or exported.
  • n. In the United States, during the civil war, a negro slave, especially an escaped or a captured slave: so called from a decision of General B. F. Butler, in 1861, that slaves coming into his lines or captured were contraband of war, and so subject to confiscation.
  • To declare prohibited; forbid.
  • To import illegally, as prohibited goods; smuggle.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. distributed or sold illicitly
  • n. goods whose importation or exportation or possession is prohibited by law

Etymologies

Italian contrabbando : contra-, against (from Latin contrā-; see contra-) + bando, legal proclamation (from Late Latin bannus, of Germanic origin; see bhā-2 in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

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