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’
    • ‘I thought it might have been gold or contraband of some kind in relation to this matter.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They will search every compartment and void looking for contraband, weapons… anything that is not supposed to be there.’
    • ‘Their assignment is to inspect the vast underbelly of a Greek freighter anchored in New York Bay for possible signs of contraband.’
    • ‘There is no doubt that without the dogs some of that contraband would go on down the road.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The tip-off led to the discovery of an illegal cigarette importation racket and a large quantity of contraband was seized.’
    • ‘Wisconsin upheld a regulation that allowed probation officers to search probationers based on ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe contraband is present.’
    • ‘Buying and selling contraband, falsifying documentation to achieve employment, evading taxes, and paying bribes to public officials are socially accepted behaviors.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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’.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He carries concealed contraband, which he sneaks into the country in order to avoid inspection by the U.S. Customs Service.’
    • ‘If they catch me, I'll flee across the Mexican border with my truckload of contraband.’
    booty, spoils, plunder, stolen goods, pillage
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    1. 1.1 Trade in smuggled goods.
      ‘the salt trade (and contraband in it) were very active in the town’
      • ‘This amount would be equal to that received from the transit and contraband of all merchandise.’
      • ‘Knowing Rory, he probably ran a little contraband on the side, but the authorities often turn a blind eye to small scale smuggling.’
      • ‘Warden replied that forfeiture ‘typically extends to the proceeds of some crime or contraband.’’
      • ‘It survived on contraband and piracy, trading cattle, hides, sugar, tobacco, and foodstuffs directly with other nations.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Casey, thank you for that report, a report of success in dealing with the contraband and the smugglers in the weaponry for global terrorism.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The proceeds of the drugs trade or other contraband finance organised crime groups.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘If his business is clean, we can dismiss the usual explanations of narcotics, contraband or human trafficking,’ he said.’
      • ‘Membership has instead arguably contributed to a growth in the shadow economy, and most notably, contraband, due to tax harmonization.’
      • ‘In 1728 Spain founded the Caracas Company to combat this contraband and to control exports to Spain from the region.’
      • ‘But like drugs, and alcohol during Prohibition, black-market contraband always provides a means to acquire whatever is the forbidden fruit of the moment.’
      smuggling, illegal traffic, black marketeering, trafficking, bootlegging
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    2. 1.2 Goods forbidden to be supplied by neutrals to those engaged in war.
      • ‘International law has not precisely defined all classes of goods that are contraband of war per se.’
      • ‘Lincoln also was the first Commander-in-Chief to declare medicines contraband of war.’
      • ‘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’
    • ‘This lust for profit means they will trade in anything that makes money: drugs, contraband goods, even illegal immigrants.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Most were arrested for prostitution, selling contraband cigarettes and working illegally.’
    • ‘A comparison of Colombian tobacco imports with US tobacco exports reveals just how many contraband cigarettes were being shipped southward from the United States.’
    • ‘The mastermind of a massive smuggling operation to flood Yorkshire with millions of contraband cigarettes has been jailed for four years.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Smugglers and drug traffickers will find it even harder to sneak in contraband goods.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many contraband items such as drugs are smuggled in without being declared even though it is common knowledge that the drugs trade exists.’
    • ‘Many of the goods she sells are contraband items smuggled in from The Gambia (about 30 kilometers to the south).’
    • ‘Lucian's family had a history of smuggling and trading contraband items when taxes got too high for people's tolerance.’
    • ‘I have researched contraband caviar in Azerbaijan, in Astrakhan, and Moscow and have seen the toll it took on depleting fish stocks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He has been charged with attempting to smuggle contraband drugs.’
    • ‘Although I may agree that criminalizing alcohol was ridiculous, I cannot sanction the support that people gave criminal enterprises through their contraband purchases.’
    • ‘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.’
    smuggled, black-market, bootleg, bootlegged, under the counter, illegal, illicit, unlawful
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    1. 1.1 Relating to traffic in illegal goods.
      ‘the contraband market’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In addition to signing mutual agreements the leaders discussed drafting policies to battle contraband trade and drug trafficking along the border.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You were with me, and we were busy busting that international contraband gang.’
      • ‘The intent, apparently, was to patrol an area that was known for contraband trafficking, but it was an undocumented mission.’
      • ‘We will take the fight to all those involved in piracy and contraband trafficking.’
      • ‘‘I'm convinced that such illegal activities will cease as soon as the police arrest the contraband mafia bosses,’ she said.’
      • ‘Smuggling is not a small phenomenon: we have estimated that, globally, a third of legal cigarette exports disappear into the contraband market.’
      • ‘Other government figures said the dispatch of soldiers to the border was to curb contraband traffic in the region.’
      • ‘More importantly, they want control of the contraband trade in drugs and arms in the area.’
      • ‘The price differential is now €1.14 per litre in the North against 79 cent in the Republic, making for a lucrative contraband market.’
      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/