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[boot-leg] /ˈbutˌlɛg/
alcoholic liquor unlawfully made, sold, or transported, without registration or payment of taxes.
the part of a boot that covers the leg.
something, as a recording, made, reproduced, or sold illegally or without authorization:
a flurry of bootlegs to cash in on the rock star's death.
verb (used with object), bootlegged, bootlegging.
to deal in (liquor or other goods) unlawfully.
verb (used without object), bootlegged, bootlegging.
to make, transport, or sell something, especially liquor, illegally or without registration or payment of taxes.
made, sold, or transported unlawfully.
illegal or clandestine.
of or relating to bootlegging.
Origin of bootleg
1625-35, Americanism; boot1 + leg; secondary senses arose from practice of hiding a liquor bottle in the leg of one's boot
Related forms
bootlegger, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bootleg
  • Uncensored bootleg copies are peddled on the streets.
  • So he set out to find vehicles intricately customised with bootleg versions of familiar patterns.
  • They start with a single stolen file and pump out bootleg games and movies by the millions.
  • They take a single stolen file and pump out bootleg media by the millions.
  • Judging from the bootleg videos that sometimes turn up, her basic speech varies little from venue to venue.
  • Though his father reportedly sold bootleg liquor, the influence of gospel music was strongly felt in the family.
  • People danced and drank bootleg liquor from dusk to dawn.
  • Another secret space, a wall mirror that lifts up to reveal hidden shelving, was probably also used to hide bootleg liquor.
  • The prisoners received soup in boots, bootleg buckets, and drawer and pantaloons legs secured at the bottom.
British Dictionary definitions for bootleg


verb -legs, -legging, -legged
to make, carry, or sell (illicit goods, esp alcohol)
something made or sold illicitly, such as alcohol during Prohibition in the US
an illegally made copy of a CD, tape, etc
produced, distributed, or sold illicitly: bootleg whisky, bootleg tapes
Derived Forms
bootlegger, noun
Word Origin
C17: see boot1, leg; from the practice of smugglers of carrying bottles of liquor concealed in their boots
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bootleg

"leg of a boot," 1630s, from boot (n.1) + leg (n.). As an adjective in reference to illegal iquor, 1889, American English slang, from the trick of concealing a flask of liquor down the leg of a high boot. Before that the bootleg was the place to secret knives and pistols.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bootleg



: a bottle of bootleg hooch


Whiskey illegally made or sold (1880s+)

  1. To make or sell illegal whiskey and other illegally repackaged products such as music recordings, movies, etc (1906+)
  2. To carry the ball deceptively by holding it against the leg, esp after pretending to hand it off to another player (1950s+ Football)

[fr the idea of concealment in the upper part of one's boots]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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