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Posted by R. Berg on April 16, 2001

In Reply to: Bootleg posted by Bruce Kahl on April 16, 2001

: Any info?

You betcha. Dict. of Amer. Slang gives only meanings for it, not origins--but see below. As a noun: Coffee, esp. inferior coffee. (Since c. 1915. A little Armed Forces and prison use.) Bootleg liquor [hmm--sounds circular to me]. (Since c. 1920. Not common.) As a verb: To carry the ball deceptively, as in football and other sports.

Amer. Heritage Dict. says "From smugglers' practice of carrying liquor in the legs of tall boots." There is also a literal definition, "The part of a tall boot above the instep."

The Supplement to the Oxford English Dict. says much the same thing, but at greater length.