[Ads-l] antedating of bootleg

James Eric Lawson jel at NVENTURE.COM
Fri Mar 26 18:57:51 UTC 2021

'bootleg' (OED a1889 [quote in Barrère & Leland actually from 1886
_Omaha Herald_] attributive, "with reference to illicit trading in
liquor"), also 'bootlegger' (OED 1889 noun, "an illicit trader in
liquor") and 'bootleg' (OED 1906 verb).

1844 _Council Grove Republican_ (Council Grove, Kansas) 16 Nov p 3 col 2

  2. 9 Puncheons of Old Rum (real New England "bootleg,") the balance of
a very large stock that has gone off very freely.


1886 _San Francisco Chronicle_ (San Francisco, California) 28 Oct p 3
col 5 [article reprinted from _Omaha Herald_]

There is as much whisky consumed in Iowa now as there was before, but
less beer, throughout the state "for medical purposes only", and on the
boot-leg plan, and saloons run openly in the larger towns in defiance of
the laws.


1886 _Fort Scott Daily Monitor (Fort Scott, Kansas) 17 Jan p 4 col 6

Joe Reed, received the next dose, he was found guilty by the jury for
boot-legging whiskey. The court gave him sixty days in jail and assessed
a fine of $250.
   The same sentence was administered in the case of Andy Colbert,
another boot legger.


1886 _The New North-West_ (Deer Lodge, Montana) 12 Mar p 2 col 6

The Iowa liquor law has given rise to a "boot legger." He wears high-top
boots and carries a flask of liquor in each, which he produces when he
sells a drink. The Federal revenue officers find it very difficult to
detect the "boot legger."


James Eric Lawson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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