Definition of contraband in English:

contraband

noun

mass noun
  • 1Goods that have been imported or exported illegally.

    ‘customs men had searched the carriages for contraband’
    • ‘It means that if a policeman tries to use illegally obtained contraband as evidence to charge a suspect, the court will readily strike down such illicit evidence.’
    • ‘On the contrary, the moment a book becomes illegal contraband it is suddenly all the more desirable.’
    • ‘With legal imports in 1998 of $15 billion, contraband accounted for 25 percent of all imports.’
    • ‘The tip-off led to the discovery of an illegal cigarette importation racket and a large quantity of contraband was seized.’
    • ‘Apart from fishery protection duties naval ships carry out a variety of other tasks including search and rescue operations and the inspection of craft suspected of carrying illegal drugs or other contraband.’
    • ‘Their assignment is to inspect the vast underbelly of a Greek freighter anchored in New York Bay for possible signs of contraband.’
    • ‘It is thought this could take anywhere between three and 10 days to complete given the size of the ship and its cargo, which is perfect for hiding contraband.’
    • ‘As the search team finds contraband, evidence, or illegal weapons, they will evacuate each item to the detention/collection team, which should locate somewhere near the entry point.’
    • ‘Those people were processed to make sure they had no weapons, no illicit dugs, no alcohol, no contraband, and then they were escorted back into the building.’
    • ‘At a frontier, one's personal belongings are subject to scrutiny, one's suitcases opened and searched for contraband, and one's passport examined to ensure that one's credentials are in order, and all this is done by a customs officer.’
    • ‘They will search every compartment and void looking for contraband, weapons… anything that is not supposed to be there.’
    • ‘He added that trained police dogs have long been a presence in Army prisons, where they are used for sniffing out narcotics and other contraband among the prisoners, and, occasionally, for riot control.’
    • ‘The ability to detect drugs and other unauthorised items will be improved, notably by the provision of a more effective searching procedure to be used where it is reasonably believed that a prisoner is concealing contraband.’
    • ‘Buying and selling contraband, falsifying documentation to achieve employment, evading taxes, and paying bribes to public officials are socially accepted behaviors.’
    • ‘Wisconsin upheld a regulation that allowed probation officers to search probationers based on ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe contraband is present.’
    • ‘But 90 per cent of those polled also backed random searches for contraband - and educational authorities are making moves to ‘get tough in the war on drugs’.’
    • ‘There is no doubt that without the dogs some of that contraband would go on down the road.’
    • ‘I thought it might have been gold or contraband of some kind in relation to this matter.’
    • ‘If they catch me, I'll flee across the Mexican border with my truckload of contraband.’
    • ‘He carries concealed contraband, which he sneaks into the country in order to avoid inspection by the U.S. Customs Service.’
    booty, spoils, plunder, stolen goods, contraband, pillage
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    1. 1.1Trade in smuggled goods.
      ‘the salt trade (and contraband in it) were very active in the town’
      • ‘It survived on contraband and piracy, trading cattle, hides, sugar, tobacco, and foodstuffs directly with other nations.’
      • ‘With caves, coves and beaches round the island, there was many a hiding place for smugglers, and contraband was a way of life on Portland - with even the man employed by the government to put a stop to the practice deeply involved.’
      • ‘But like drugs, and alcohol during Prohibition, black-market contraband always provides a means to acquire whatever is the forbidden fruit of the moment.’
      • ‘Their political power is tied to networks of corruption and contraband.’
      • ‘The contraband at park headquarters has a market value totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.’
      • ‘In 1728 Spain founded the Caracas Company to combat this contraband and to control exports to Spain from the region.’
      • ‘This amount would be equal to that received from the transit and contraband of all merchandise.’
      • ‘Warden replied that forfeiture ‘typically extends to the proceeds of some crime or contraband.’’
      • ‘Membership has instead arguably contributed to a growth in the shadow economy, and most notably, contraband, due to tax harmonization.’
      • ‘Although the gangs were predominantly comprised of labourers or artisans, who regarded the practice as a legitimate part of the local economy, the contraband reached all sections of society.’
      • ‘Knowing Rory, he probably ran a little contraband on the side, but the authorities often turn a blind eye to small scale smuggling.’
      • ‘The proceeds of the drugs trade or other contraband finance organised crime groups.’
      • ‘‘If his business is clean, we can dismiss the usual explanations of narcotics, contraband or human trafficking,’ he said.’
      • ‘You need to discuss your rights to living in an environment free of contraband and illegal activity, your right to privacy, and the need for a fair and sanctioned visitation policy.’
      smuggling, illegal traffic, black marketeering, trafficking, bootlegging
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    2. 1.2Goods forbidden to be supplied by neutrals to those engaged in war.
      • ‘Lincoln also was the first Commander-in-Chief to declare medicines contraband of war.’
      • ‘International law has not precisely defined all classes of goods that are contraband of war per se.’
      • ‘Neutral goods, with the exception of contraband of war, are not liable to capture under enemy's flag.’

adjective

  • 1Imported or exported illegally, either in defiance of a total ban or without payment of duty.

    ‘contraband brandy’
    • ‘He has been charged with attempting to smuggle contraband drugs.’
    • ‘Many contraband items such as drugs are smuggled in without being declared even though it is common knowledge that the drugs trade exists.’
    • ‘This lust for profit means they will trade in anything that makes money: drugs, contraband goods, even illegal immigrants.’
    • ‘A comparison of Colombian tobacco imports with US tobacco exports reveals just how many contraband cigarettes were being shipped southward from the United States.’
    • ‘Some girls and boys are used by drug dealers and smugglers to transport and sell drugs and contraband goods and some are used to beg on the streets.’
    • ‘Most were arrested for prostitution, selling contraband cigarettes and working illegally.’
    • ‘Many of the goods she sells are contraband items smuggled in from The Gambia (about 30 kilometers to the south).’
    • ‘Seizures in Scotland have shown that the Russian mafia disguise their contraband goods by hiding them in tons of scrap metal and rags inside container lorries.’
    • ‘Although I may agree that criminalizing alcohol was ridiculous, I cannot sanction the support that people gave criminal enterprises through their contraband purchases.’
    • ‘Last year customs launched a three-year £209 million strategy to tackle tobacco smuggling, but with a flood of contraband cigarettes still easily available, some vendors feel more must be done.’
    • ‘A Chinese fishing boat disguised as a Taiwanese vessel was intercepted off the coast early yesterday while it was attempting to smuggle a large amount of contraband cigarettes to Taiwan.’
    • ‘The mastermind of a massive smuggling operation to flood Yorkshire with millions of contraband cigarettes has been jailed for four years.’
    • ‘Lucian's family had a history of smuggling and trading contraband items when taxes got too high for people's tolerance.’
    • ‘The international cocaine trade re-emerged in Colombia in the 1970s, courtesy of a mafia which cut its teeth on contraband whiskey, marijuana and luxury goods.’
    • ‘Smugglers and drug traffickers will find it even harder to sneak in contraband goods.’
    • ‘The practice is certainly not confined to housewives buying more sugar to fill up their pantry, nor to small-time smugglers holding contraband merchandise in mountain-caves.’
    • ‘An initial contingent of 300 forest rangers is being sent into the woods, to be deployed along the country's borders, particularly with Pakistan, where most of the contraband timber is sold.’
    • ‘I have researched contraband caviar in Azerbaijan, in Astrakhan, and Moscow and have seen the toll it took on depleting fish stocks.’
    • ‘The Dutch bought contraband cacao from Caracas producers, and shipped it to Amsterdam, which soon became the main supplier of cacao to Europe, including Spain itself.’
    • ‘So cooperative are some guards that they will warn prisoners if there is going to be a search of the cells, so the inmates can hide contraband items like weapons, cellular phones and pornographic VCDs.’
    smuggled, black-market, bootleg, bootlegged, under the counter, illegal, illicit, unlawful
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    1. 1.1Relating to traffic in illegal goods.
      ‘the contraband market’
      • ‘We will take the fight to all those involved in piracy and contraband trafficking.’
      • ‘Other government figures said the dispatch of soldiers to the border was to curb contraband traffic in the region.’
      • ‘The intent, apparently, was to patrol an area that was known for contraband trafficking, but it was an undocumented mission.’
      • ‘Massive police raids on contraband markets in Mexico City earlier this year met with resistance from vendors who hurled sticks and stones and trashed vehicles to defend their merchandise.’
      • ‘The price differential is now €1.14 per litre in the North against 79 cent in the Republic, making for a lucrative contraband market.’
      • ‘Its key characteristic is not cross border shopping and bootlegging but large scale fraud in which millions of cigarettes evade duty and appear on the contraband market.’
      • ‘In addition to signing mutual agreements the leaders discussed drafting policies to battle contraband trade and drug trafficking along the border.’
      • ‘More importantly, they want control of the contraband trade in drugs and arms in the area.’
      • ‘Smuggling is not a small phenomenon: we have estimated that, globally, a third of legal cigarette exports disappear into the contraband market.’
      • ‘‘I'm convinced that such illegal activities will cease as soon as the police arrest the contraband mafia bosses,’ she said.’
      • ‘You were with me, and we were busy busting that international contraband gang.’
      • ‘There will increasingly be times when, encountering terrorists, contraband smugglers, or others who are seeking to breach the law, customs officers will find themselves having to deal with this threat alone.’
      illegal, illicit, unlawful, unauthorized, unsanctioned, unlicensed, unofficial, pirated
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Origin

Late 16th century from Spanish contrabanda, from Italian contrabando, from contra- ‘against’ + bando ‘proclamation, ban’.

Pronunciation

contraband

/ˈkɒntrəband/