What does taboo mean?

Definitions for tabootəˈbu, tæ-

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word taboo.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. taboo, tabu(noun)

    a prejudice (especially in Polynesia and other South Pacific islands) that prohibits the use or mention of something because of its sacred nature

  2. taboo, tabu(adj)

    an inhibition or ban resulting from social custom or emotional aversion

  3. forbidden, out(p), prohibited, proscribed, taboo, tabu, verboten(adj)

    excluded from use or mention

    "forbidden fruit"; "in our house dancing and playing cards were out"; "a taboo subject"

  4. taboo, tabu(verb)

    forbidden to profane use especially in South Pacific islands

  5. taboo(verb)

    declare as sacred and forbidden


  1. taboo(Noun)

    An inhibition or ban that results from social custom or emotional aversion.

  2. taboo(Noun)

    Something which may not be used, approached or mentioned because it is sacred.

  3. taboo(Verb)

    To mark as taboo.

  4. taboo(Verb)

    To ban.

  5. taboo(Verb)

    To avoid.

  6. taboo(Adjective)

    Excluded or forbidden from use, approach or mention.

    Incest is a taboo subject in most soap operas.

  7. Origin: tapu. The word entered English around 1777. Ultimately from tapu.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Taboo(noun)

    a total prohibition of intercourse with, use of, or approach to, a given person or thing under pain of death, -- an interdict of religious origin and authority, formerly common in the islands of Polynesia; interdiction

  2. Taboo(verb)

    to put under taboo; to forbid, or to forbid the use of; to interdict approach to, or use of; as, to taboo the ground set apart as a sanctuary for criminals


  1. Taboo

    A taboo is a vehement prohibition of an action based on the belief that such behavior is either too sacred or too accursed for ordinary individuals to undertake, under threat of supernatural punishment. Such prohibitions are present in virtually all societies. The word has been somewhat expanded in the social sciences to include strong prohibitions relating to any area of human activity or custom that is sacred or forbidden based on moral judgment and religious beliefs. "Breaking a taboo" is usually considered objectionable by society in general, not merely a subset of a culture.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Taboo

    Tabu, ta-bōō′, n. an institution among the Polynesians, forming a penal system based on religious sanctions, by which certain things are held sacred or consecrated, and hence prohibited to be used—by a natural transference of meaning by association of ideas becoming equivalent to 'unholy,' 'accursed'—also Tamboo′, Tambu′, and Tapu′: any prohibition, interdict, restraint, ban, exclusion, ostracism.—v.t. to forbid approach to: to forbid the use of:—pr.p. tabōō′ing; pa.t. and pa.p. tabōōed′. [Polynesian tapu—prob. ta, to mark, pu, expressing intensity.]

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Taboo

    or Tabu, a solemn prohibition or interdict among the Polynesians under which a particular person or thing is pronounced inviolable, and so sacred, the violation of which entails malediction at the hands of the supernatural powers.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Taboo

    Any negative tradition or behavior that is generally regarded as harmful to social welfare and forbidden within a cultural or social group.


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of taboo in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of taboo in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Jason Romeyko:

    By holding the issue, readers are immediately breaking the taboo.

  2. Simon Khaya-Moyo:

    It's taboo. We don't even talk about it here, even animals know which is female and which is male. Why should we not be able to know who is female, who is male? It is an insult to God.

  3. Andrew Keates:

    I've met hundreds of people who have been diagnosed but are too frightened to talk about it because of the stigma that remains, it isn't a death sentence like it once was, but it is a social taboo.

  4. Matthias Wissmann:

    A Greek exit from the euro zone can no longer be taboo, it could - if combined with a wise future strategy from the euro countries - even contribute to the stabilisation of the euro zone ... The markets need dependability.

  5. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei:

    The key to solving (Iran's) economic problems is ... inside the country, if pens and papers on the desks, to construction materials and anything else can be produced in the country, it should be forbidden and considered a taboo.

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Translations for taboo

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"taboo." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 23 Apr. 2017. <http://www.definitions.net/definition/taboo>.

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