Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for December 11, 2020 is:
contraband KAHN-truh-band noun
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
The officers searched the car for weapons, drugs, and other contraband.
“Silk Road served as an online marketplace for drugs and other contraband, and the Justice Department has determined it generated more than $9.5 million in sales revenue before it was shut down in 2013.” — Andrew Blake, The Washington Times, 5 Nov. 2020
Did you know?
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.”