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.

Suggested Resources

  1. taboo

    Song lyrics by taboo -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by taboo on the Lyrics.com website.


  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. Luxembourg Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna:

    A haircut is not taboo for Luxembourg in the sense that everything can be talked about.

  3. Segolene Royal:

    The question of sending ground troops is not yet on the table... but obviously nothing is taboo.

  4. Von Stetten:

    We need to stop the wave of refugees. Examining whether to fortify the borders should not be taboo.

  5. David Streckfuss:

    It’s trying to send the message that this is a taboo subject and that discussion of the monarchy will be punished at all costs.

Images & Illustrations of taboo

  1. tabootabootaboo

Translations for taboo

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"taboo." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 20 Feb. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/taboo>.

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