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sacred; forbidden
a Māori religious or superstitious restriction on something
Word Origin
Māori, from Tongan
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Examples from the Web for tapu
Historical Examples
  • Thus they have prevented the ascent of Mount Tongariro, which is tapu, or sacred.

  • Who among ye desires the life of Banderah and those to whom he has given his tapu?

    The Tapu Of Banderah Louis Becke
  • But the tapu is more often the instrument of wise and needful restrictions.

    In the South Seas Robert Louis Stevenson
  • In English usually written ‘taboo’: ‘tapu’ is the correct Tahitian form.

    In the South Seas Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Suffice it, that a thing which was tapu must not be touched, nor a place that was tapu visited.

    Ballads Robert Louis Stevenson
  • When it was slightly scorched he would throw it away; it was tapu to Uenuku.

  • I have tapu'd him, and I have told him that his life is safe.

  • It became a tapu relic, and was religiously preserved by the Hauhaus.

  • Let me not dwell upon the humiliating concession to the powers of tapu.

    Old New Zealand Earl of Pembroke.
  • I must now take some little notice of the other great institution, the tapu.

    Old New Zealand Earl of Pembroke.

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