Old shoe lugged into a car, as tronc is smuggled into a tusker’s ...

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A WORD IN THE HAND: BOOT

Old shoe lugged into a car, as tronc is smuggled into a tusker’s trumpet

A column to satisfy your inner grammar nerd

Deputy features editor: Sunday Times

A reader pointed out that in yesterday’s column about moonshine I neglected to explain the origins of “bootleg”. What an oversight. I must have been too busy dreaming of giant bottles of red wine.

Bootlegging comes quite logically from the practice of slipping an illegal bottle of hooch down the side of a high boot to conceal it. 

Liquor smuggling continued to be called bootlegging even when other receptacles were used – although just the other day a suspicious metro cop asked me if he could look in my boot, so perhaps there has been some spillover into modern times...

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