taboo

or ta·bu

[ tuh-boo, ta- ]
/ təˈbu, tæ- /

adjective

noun, plural ta·boos.

verb (used with object), ta·booed, ta·boo·ing.

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

1770–80; < Tongan tapu or Fijian tabu ‘forbidden, prohibited’

Synonym study

7. Forbid, inhibit, prohibit, taboo indicate a command to refrain from some action. Forbid, a common and familiar word, usually denotes a direct or personal command of this sort: I forbid you to go. It was useless to forbid children to play in the park. Inhibit implies a checking or hindering of impulses by the mind, sometimes involuntarily: to inhibit one's desires; His responsiveness was inhibited by extreme shyness. Prohibit, a formal or legal word, means usually to forbid by official edict, enactment, or the like: to prohibit the sale of liquor. Taboo, primarily associated with primitive superstition, means to prohibit by common disapproval and by social custom: to taboo a subject in polite conversation.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for taboo

British Dictionary definitions for taboo

taboo

tabu

/ (təˈbuː) /

adjective

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

noun plural -boos or -bus

any prohibition resulting from social or other conventions
ritual restriction or prohibition, esp of something that is considered holy or unclean

verb

(tr) to place under a taboo

Word Origin for taboo

C18: from Tongan tapu
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medicine definitions for taboo

taboo


n. pl. ta•boos

A ban or an inhibition resulting from social custom or emotional aversion.

adj.

Excluded or forbidden from use, approach, or mention.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Culture definitions for taboo

taboo


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.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.