Etymology
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contraband (n.)

1520s, "smuggling, illegal or prohibited traffic;" 1590s, "smuggled goods, anything by law forbidden to be imported or exported;" from French contrebande "a smuggling," from older Italian contrabando (modern contrabbando) "unlawful dealing," etymologically "contrary to proclamation," from Latin contra "against" (see contra (prep., adv.)) + Medieval Latin bannum, from Frankish *ban "a command" or some other Germanic source (see ban (v.)).  As an adjective, "prohibited by law, proclamation, or treaty," 1650s. 

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ban (v.)

Old English bannan "to summon, command, proclaim," from Proto-Germanic *bannan "to speak publicly" (used in reference to various sorts of proclamations), "command; summon; outlaw, forbid" (source also of Old Frisian bonna "to order, command, proclaim," Old High German bannan "to command or forbid under threat of punishment," German bannen "banish, expel, curse"), apparently a Germanic specialization from a suffixed form of PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say" (source also of Old Irish bann "law," Armenian ban "word").

From mid-12c. as "to curse, condemn, pronounce a curse upon;" from late 14c. as "to prohibit;" these senses likely are via the Old Norse cognate banna "to curse, prohibit," and probably in part from Old French banir "to summon, banish" (see banish) and was a borrowing from Germanic. The sense evolution in Germanic was from "speak" to "proclaim a threat" to (in Norse, German, etc.) "to curse, anathematize."

The Germanic root, borrowed in Latin and French, has been productive: banal, bandit, contraband, etc. Related: Banned; banning. Banned in Boston dates from 1920s, in allusion to the excessive zeal and power of that city's Watch and Ward Society. Ban the bomb as a slogan of the nuclear disarmament movement is from 1955.

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*bha- (2)

*bhā-; Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to speak, tell, say."

It forms all or part of: abandon; affable; anthem; antiphon; aphasia; aphonia; aphonic; apophasis; apophatic; ban (n.1) "proclamation or edict;" ban (v.); banal; bandit; banish; banlieue; banns (n.); bifarious; blame; blaspheme; blasphemy; boon (n.); cacophony; confess; contraband; defame; dysphemism; euphemism; euphony; fable; fabulous; fado; fairy; fame; famous; fandango; fatal; fate; fateful; fatuous; fay; gramophone; heterophemy; homophone; ineffable; infamous; infamy; infant; infantile; infantry; mauvais; megaphone; microphone; monophonic; nefandous; nefarious; phatic; -phone; phone (n.2) "elementary sound of a spoken language;" phoneme; phonetic; phonic; phonics; phono-; pheme; -phemia; Polyphemus; polyphony; preface; profess; profession; professional; professor; prophecy; prophet; prophetic; quadraphonic; symphony; telephone; xylophone.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek pheme "speech, voice, utterance, a speaking, talk," phōnē "voice, sound" of a human or animal, also "tone, voice, pronunciation, speech," phanai "to speak;" Sanskrit bhanati "speaks;" Latin fari "to say," fabula "narrative, account, tale, story," fama "talk, rumor, report; reputation, public opinion; renown, reputation;" Armenian ban, bay "word, term;" Old Church Slavonic bajati "to talk, tell;" Old English boian "to boast," ben "prayer, request;" Old Irish bann "law."

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owl (v.)

"carry on an unlawful or contraband trade at night," 1540s, from owl (n.). Related: Owled; owler; owling.

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smuggler (n.)
1660s, from Low German smuggeln or Dutch smokkelen "to transport (goods) illegally," apparently a frequentative formation of a word meaning "to sneak" (from Proto-Germanic *smuganan; source also of Dutch smuigen "to eat secretly;" Swedish smyg "a lurking-hole," Danish smughandel "contraband trade," Norwegian smjuga, Old English smeogan "to creep"), perhaps literally "to slip (contraband through)," from Proto-Germanic *(s)muk- (see smock).
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