Monday, August 5

Word of the Day


1 : illegal or prohibited traffic in goods : smuggling
2 : goods or merchandise whose importation, exportation, or possession is forbidden; also : smuggled goods
3 : a slave who during the American Civil War escaped to or was brought within the Union lines

"Contraband" first appeared in English in the early 1500s as a borrowing of Italian "contrabbando." This Italian word can be traced to the Medieval Latin word "contrabannum," a combination of "contra-" ("against") and "bannum" ("decree"). "Bannum" is Germanic in origin and is related to Old High German "bannan" ("to command"). "Bannan" is also related to Middle English "bannen" ("to summon or to curse"), the source of the English verb "ban" (which now means "to prohibit" but which once also meant "to curse").


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