Posted by Brian from Shawnee on August 03, 2005
In Reply to: Re: Bootleggers posted by Victoria S Dennis on August 03, 2005
: : : what is the meaning and origin of bootleggers.??
: : Bootleg means the part of the boot that covers the leg; it's a place where one can conveniently hide things for smuggling.
: : "Bootlegging" nowadays means usually making/distributing of an illegal copy of a CD, cassette or DVD. Especially in the music world, bootlegging means taping and recording a concert without the artist's approval and later releasing it (without giving any profit to the performer). Some artist accept this.
: But as far as I know, the original bootleggers were bringing alcohol to the USA in the Prohibition era. Unless anyone here has encountered an earlier use? (VSD)
The Online Etymological Dictionary gives 1889 as the earliest date but they don't say where they got it from. this is what they say:
1889 (adj.), 1903 (v.), Amer.Eng. slang, from the trick of concealing something down the leg of a high boot (originally a flask of liquor)."
Any product that has not had tax or royalties paid on it, can be called a "bootleg" item, including records, CD's, liquor, and coal.