- proscribed by society as improper or unacceptable: Taboo language is usually bleeped on TV.
- prohibited or excluded from use or practice: In art school, painting from photographs was taboo.
- (among the Polynesians and other peoples of the South Pacific) separated or set apart as sacred; forbidden for general use; placed under a prohibition or ban.
- a prohibition or interdiction of anything; exclusion from use or practice: One of the strongest taboos in all modern societies is against incest.
- (among the Polynesians and other peoples of the South Pacific)
- the system, practice, or act whereby things are set apart as sacred, forbidden for general use, or placed under a prohibition or interdiction.
- the condition of being so set apart, forbidden, or interdicted.
- exclusion from social relations; ostracism.
- to put under a taboo; prohibit or forbid.
- to ostracize (a person, group, etc.): While he is tabooed, no one may speak to him.
Origin of taboo
Related Words for tabooprohibited, banned, unthinkable, outlawed, stricture, anathema, prohibition, superstition, inhibition, no-no, reserved, unmentionable, restricted, forbidden, restriction, limitation, forbiddance, restraint, proscription, disapproval
Examples from the Web for taboo
Contemporary Examples of taboo
As Armstrong writes, “It was not a ‘great objective something,’ but had imprecise connotations of obligation and taboo.”Karen Armstrong’s New Rule: Religion Isn’t Responsible for Violence
October 29, 2014
Our culture is becoming more open-minded about previously taboo subjects.Porn Keeps Up with the Kardashians: Belle Knox on the Mainstreaming of Adult Stars
September 27, 2014
Everything was on the table, the promos said; no subjects were taboo.Hillary Clinton’s Network Massage
June 10, 2014
Lingerie—once so scandalous, erotic—was worse than taboo, it was passé.What Lies Beneath: How Lingerie Got Sexy
June 5, 2014
Would it have revealed a sensual side to Lincoln that has become a taboo subject, and that is much too difficult to document?Lincoln in Love
February 14, 2014
Historical Examples of taboo
Yet as Ahmed Antoun in his green turban, he was "taboo" at our little party.It Happened in Egypt
C. N. Williamson
These topics were taboo and Captain Obed soon ceased to mention them.Thankful's Inheritance
Joseph C. Lincoln
Now those names were taboo; or, at any rate, they might as well be.The Portygee
Joseph Crosby Lincoln
There seemed to be no taboo on discussion of the Ids with him.Cubs of the Wolf
Raymond F. Jones
The savage was afraid to utter the real name of his god, it was taboo.The Necessity of Atheism
Dr. D.M. Brooks
- forbidden or disapproved of; placed under a social prohibition or bantaboo words
- (in Polynesia and other islands of the South Pacific) marked off as simultaneously sacred and forbidden
- any prohibition resulting from social or other conventions
- ritual restriction or prohibition, esp of something that is considered holy or unclean
- (tr) to place under a taboo
Word Origin for taboo
1777 (in Cook's "A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean"), "consecrated, inviolable, forbidden, unclean or cursed," explained in some English sources as being from Tongan (Polynesian language of the island of Tonga) ta-bu "sacred," from ta "mark" + bu "especially." But this may be folk etymology, as linguists in the Pacific have reconstructed an irreducable Proto-Polynesian *tapu, from Proto-Oceanic *tabu "sacred, forbidden" (cf. Hawaiian kapu "taboo, prohibition, sacred, holy, consecrated;" Tahitian tapu "restriction, sacred;" Maori tapu "be under ritual restriction, prohibited"). The noun and verb are English innovations first recorded in Cook's book.
- A ban or an inhibition resulting from social custom or emotional aversion.
- Excluded or forbidden from use, approach, or mention.
A descriptive term for words, objects, actions, or people that are forbidden by a group or culture. The expression comes from the religion of islanders of the South Pacific.