taboo

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search

English[edit]

Wikipedia-logo.png
 taboo on Wikipedia

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from Tongan tapu (prohibited, sacred), from Proto-Polynesian *tapu, from Proto-Oceanic *tabu, from Proto-Eastern Malayo-Polynesian *tambu. Doublet of kapu. [First attested in c. 1777.]

The p in the Tongan source was misheard as b.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /təˈbuː/, /tæˈbuː/
  • (file)

Noun[edit]

taboo (countable and uncountable, plural taboos)

  1. An inhibition or ban that results from social custom or emotional aversion.
    • 1922, James Frazer, The Golden Bough:
      So among the Alfoors of the island of Buru it is taboo to mention the names of parents and parents-in-law, or even to speak of common objects by words which resemble these names in sound.
    • 1974, Lawrence Durrell, Monsieur, Faber & Faber 1992, p. 213:
      The sharp differentiation of the sexes in our culture was shaped most probably by monogamy and monosexuality and their tabus.
    • 1981, William Irwin Thompson, The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light:Mythology, Sexuality and the Origins of Culture, page 12:
      For a structuralist like Edmund Leach, the structure is the meaning. Genesis, for example, is about incest taboos; all the rest is noise and mystification.
  2. (in Polynesia) Something which may not be used, approached or mentioned because it is sacred.

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Adjective[edit]

taboo (comparative more taboo, superlative most taboo)

  1. Excluded or forbidden from use, approach or mention.
    Incest is a taboo subject in most soap operas.
  2. Culturally forbidden.

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

taboo (third-person singular simple present taboos, present participle tabooing, simple past and past participle tabooed)

  1. To mark as taboo.
  2. To ban.
  3. To avoid.

Translations[edit]

Anagrams[edit]