Definitions for tabootəˈbu, tæ-

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word taboo

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

ta•bootəˈbu, tæ-(adj.; n.)(pl.)-boos

  1. (adj.)proscribed by society as improper or unacceptable:

    taboo words.

  2. set apart as sacred; forbidden for general use; placed under a prohibition or bar.

    Category: Anthropology

  3. (n.)a prohibition or interdiction of something; exclusion from use or practice.

  4. the system or practice of setting things apart as sacred or forbidden for general use.

    Category: Anthropology

  5. exclusion from social relations; ostracism.

  6. (v.t.)to put under a taboo; prohibit or forbid.

  7. to ostracize.

Origin of taboo:

1770–80; < Tongan tapu or Fijian tabu

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

Kernerman English Learner's Dictionary

  1. taboo(adjective)əˈbu, tæ-

    absolutely forbidden

    a culture where it is taboo to talk about sex

  2. taboo(noun)əˈbu, tæ-

    sth that is taboo

    Every society has its taboos.


  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.

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.

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