9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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 bootlegging
  • bootlegging of alcohol into dry villages is big business.
  • But by now the police were getting on to bootlegging.
  • Yet his wealth is the product of some shady bootlegging.
  • Its aim, among other things, is to address the problem of bootlegging.
  • When you buy instead of bootlegging, you're paying the band.
  • With the war over, officers turned their attention back to the old problem of bootlegging.
  • Rumors spread that she sent coded messages out over the air to the bootlegging ships at sea.
  • The law also includes tough new enforcement provisions to help combat cigarette bootlegging.
  • The detectives are investigating several active cases ranging from end user dyed diesel violations to cross border bootlegging.
  • My brothers, the older ones, had a gang bootlegging.
British Dictionary definitions for bootlegging


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 bootlegging

also boot-legging, 1890, from bootleg (q.v.).



"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 bootlegging



: 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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