From Middle French contrebande.



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contraband ‎(usually uncountable, plural contrabands)

  1. (uncountable) any goods which are illicit or illegal to possess
  2. (uncountable) goods which are prohibited from being traded, smuggled goods
  3. (countable, US, historical) A black slave during the American Civil War who had escaped to, or been captured by, Union forces.
    • 1988, James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, Oxford 2003, p. 497:
      While some Yanks treated contrabands with a degree of equity or benevolence, the more typical response was indifference, contempt, or cruelty.



contraband ‎(comparative more contraband, superlative most contraband)

  1. prohibited from being traded
    • 1940The Code of Federal Regulations of the United States of America: Having ... – Division of the Federal Register, the National Archives – Page 2191
      "[...] when the seizure is made in connection with a violation involving a contraband article covered by section 1 (b) (1) of the said Act; [...]"
    • 1953 – United States, United States. President, United States. Congress – United States Code Congressional and Administrative News – Page 2039
      "The exclusion of mandatory payment of moieties for seizures of contraband controlled substances is accomplished through Section 17 of the bill, [...]"
    • 1899 – Albert William Chaster – The Powers, Duties and Liabilities of Executive Officers as Between These ... – Stevens and Haynes – Page 55
      "4. Contraband goods may be seized if found in a river before they are landed or offered for sale."


contraband ‎(third-person singular simple present contrabands, present participle contrabanding, simple past and past participle contrabanded)

  1. (obsolete) To import illegally; to smuggle.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Johnson to this entry?)
  2. (obsolete) To declare prohibited; to forbid.
    • Hudibras
      The law severely contrabands / Our taking business off men's hands.