Definition of bootleg in English:

bootleg

adjective

  • (of alcoholic drink or a recording) made, distributed, or sold illegally:

    ‘bootleg cassettes’
    • ‘The multimillion-pound black market in bootleg films and CDs is thriving because prosecutors let criminals off the hook, it was claimed last night.’
    • ‘The move is being proposed in order to clamp down on bootleg whisky, which Brown claims costs the taxpayer £600m a year in lost tax revenue.’
    • ‘I personally have never seen bootleg alcohol and cigarettes sold from the back of a hatchback as reported.’
    • ‘Rocker-turned-activist Geldof said he had consented to a DVD release of the 1985 concert because of the large number of bootleg recordings available.’
    • ‘The demand for illicit drugs is as strong as the nation's thirst for bootleg booze during Prohibition.’
    • ‘This double CD of Ian Hunter's latest tour of Britain in support of his latest official release, the critically acclaimed ‘Rant’, is a bootleg recording.’
    • ‘This is the woman who carried on drinking bootleg liquor after Prohibition was lifted because she preferred the taste.’
    • ‘In March, one woman died and another was left seriously ill after drinking bootleg vodka.’
    • ‘After two years at college Slim was expelled for selling bootleg whiskey to other students.’
    • ‘The bootleg alcohol that was produced then, often called gut-rot, tasted so vile that the bartenders learned to mix the alcohol with fruit juices to disguise the taste.’
    • ‘Alcohol was banned, yet many drank bootleg vodka.’
    • ‘Later, the islands were used as a smuggling stopover for arms in the civil war and for bootleg alcohol during Prohibition.’
    • ‘But many Americans, especially in the cities, rejected prohibition; speakeasies flourished and bootleg liquor flowed freely in many municipalities.’
    • ‘Scotland's deputy chief medical officer, Dr Andrew Fraser, warned anyone drinking the bootleg vodka could be in serious danger.’
    • ‘Perhaps this has to do with the imprecision of live recording, but it almost sounds like a bootleg recording.’
    • ‘Rumours that a bootleg recording of him singing in the hotel bar still exists is just one of the enthralling tales which surround the famous venue.’
    • ‘Over 40 years, he has produced something like 40 ‘official’ albums, supplemented by a slew of live LPs and even more bootleg recordings.’
    • ‘There is, of course, the town drunk, Otis, who acquires bootleg liquor from various moonshiners in that dry county on a regular basis and regularly celebrates the anniversary of his first drink.’
    • ‘I honestly thought it must be some kind of bootleg recording of one of the acoustic shows I did back in the late eighties.’
    • ‘The bootleg booze industry in Boston wasn't affected in the least.’
    illegal, illicit, unlawful, unauthorized, unsanctioned, unlicensed, unofficial, pirated
    bootlegged, contraband, smuggled, black-market, under the counter
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verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • Make, distribute, or sell (alcoholic drink or a recording) illegally:

    ‘bootlegging is rife in America’
    • ‘They were sold from a number of different accounts and the man did not say they were bootlegged or illegal in any way.’
    • ‘Trading standards bosses at North Yorkshire County Council say that over the past year, they have discovered a number of pubs putting bootlegged whisky, vodka and rum in popular branded bottles.’
    • ‘He's been involved in some illegal imports, you know, guns, drugs, bootlegged Metallica T-shirts; but we haven't been able to make anything stick yet.’
    • ‘For example, before we went into Louisiana, a lot of people were bootlegging our product into Louisiana, so when we arrived there, people already knew about it.’
    • ‘These tapes - amazingly by the standards of Dylan collectors - have never been bootlegged, but can be heard on the BBC documentary.’
    • ‘Commerce Secretary Evans, in China, was complaining about bootlegged copies of American movies selling there for about $1.’
    • ‘In 2001, 29% of the pirated films seized were on DVD; so far this year 59% have been bootlegged DVDs.’
    • ‘Recently, their EP fetched over $500 on Ebay from a U.S. collector, with a German label's bootlegging of their unreleased ‘album’ only adding more fuel to the fire.’
    • ‘The VCDs are affordable and not bootlegged by illegal manufacturers,’ he said.’
    • ‘So unless someone was helpfully bootlegging it, I don't know how you could hear the whole thing.’
    • ‘It's also expected to cut down on the import of cheaper, bootlegged alcohol by lowering the cost of buying legally-ordered supplies.’
    • ‘I've also spoken to people whose work has been bootlegged.’
    • ‘Miles Davis's much bootlegged performances in Poland in the 1980s were signature moments in the decline of Polish Communism, symbols of a yearned-for freedom.’
    • ‘If you see a couple of mic stands being attended by some dude with a rock shirt, that show is probably being bootlegged.’
    • ‘They have yet to cut an album, but a group of enterprising kids have recorded their concerts and are selling bootlegged cassettes all over the district at $4 each.’
    • ‘It's been bootlegged quite a lot though--check out your nearest record fair.’
    • ‘They bootlegged liquor during the depression, then went legit.’
    • ‘In a way I look at the fact it was bootlegged as a compliment.’
    • ‘National prohibition provided lucrative illegal markets, which some Italian Americans successfully exploited through bootlegging operations.’
    • ‘My first real business was bootlegging T-shirts.’
    illegal, illicit, unlawful, unauthorized, unsanctioned, unlicensed, unofficial, pirated
    bootlegged, contraband, smuggled, black-market, under the counter
    View synonyms

noun

  • An illegal musical recording, especially one made at a concert.

    • ‘Fortunately, live bootlegs of the track are readily available to even the most novice trader.’
    • ‘He owns all the albums as well as several bootlegs.’
    • ‘This is one of those Italian bootlegs of live concerts.’
    • ‘At least one track has been available on bootlegs for years.’
    • ‘In a sense the tinny and muddy nature of the production seems natural to the music, suggesting a connection to, say, the early 70s Zappa bootlegs that probably take up an entire wall of his apartment.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, bootlegs of the finished product circulated, generating critical kudos, a groundswell of interest, and a bidding war among nearly 30 other labels.’
    • ‘Until last year, my only act of resistance involved trading copies of live shows and bootlegs on the internet.’
    • ‘Now that this is packaged as a real release instead of a bootleg, it comes off as a substandard product.’
    • ‘Seems ne'er-do-wells are pressing illegal copies of records and then selling bootlegs at much lower prices than official record shops.’
    • ‘Partially broadcast by the BBC in 1982, a bootleg has been circulating ever since.’
    • ‘Much to our chagrin, someone put out a bootleg recorded at rehearsals.’
    • ‘In a nearby record shop, most of the CDs by Western artists were decent-quality bootlegs.’
    • ‘‘Your article focused on the dance community, but many of us are rock music fans and happen to buy concert bootlegs.’’
    • ‘Many of them are bootlegs made by a sneaky soundman or concertgoer and are of a quality dubious enough to repel the casual listener.’
    • ‘In an effort to transcend the dodgy sound quality and high prices of bootlegs, the band has recorded every concert over the past three years.’
    • ‘The is a hodgepodge of performances that also features a couple of readily available tracks, and the sound quality is for the most part no better than a good bootleg.’
    • ‘Sometimes I feel like a studio album, other times a live bootleg from a concert I went to.’
    • ‘I like my music with the rinds and the seeds and pulp left in - so the bootlegs I obtained in the Sixties and Seventies, where the noise and grit of the tapes became inseparable from the music, are essential to me.’
    • ‘I have spent 15 years collecting Beatles bootlegs and am pleased to say that there are many excellent recordings of these sessions.’
    • ‘When you guys first hit the scene with your bootlegs, record companies gave you lots of flak.’
    fake, counterfeit, sham, fraud, imitation, dummy, mock-up, reproduction, replica, copy, print, lookalike, likeness
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Origin

Late 19th century: from the smugglers' practice of concealing bottles in their boots.

Pronunciation:

bootleg

/ˈbuːtlɛɡ/