from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A ban or an inhibition resulting from social custom or emotional aversion.
- n. A prohibition, especially in Polynesia and other South Pacific islands, excluding something from use, approach, or mention because of its sacred and inviolable nature.
- n. An object, a word, or an act protected by such a prohibition.
- adj. Excluded or forbidden from use, approach, or mention: a taboo subject.
- transitive v. To exclude from use, approach, or mention; place under taboo.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. An inhibition or ban that results from social custom or emotional aversion.
- n. Something which may not be used, approached or mentioned because it is sacred.
- adj. Excluded or forbidden from use, approach or mention.
- v. To mark as taboo.
- v. To ban.
- v. To avoid.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. Set apart or sacred by religious custom among certain races of Polynesia, New Zealand, etc., and forbidden to certain persons or uses; hence, prohibited under severe penalties; interdicted.
- n. 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.
- transitive v. To put under taboo; to forbid, or to forbid the use of; to interdict approach to, or use of.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Among the Polynesians and other races of the South Pacific, separated or set apart either as forbidden or as sacred; placed under ban or prohibition; consecrated either to exclusion or avoidance or to special use, regard, or service; hence, in English use, forbidden; interdicted.
- n. Among the Polynesians and other races of the South Pacific, a system, practice, or act whereby persons, things, places, actions, or words are or may be placed under a ban, curse, or prohibition, or set apart as sacred or privileged in some specific manner, usually with very severe penalties for infraction.
- n. Hence A prohibitory or restraining injunction or demonstration; restraint or exclusion, as from social intercourse or from use, imposed by some controlling influence; ban; prohibition; ostracism: as, to put a person or a thing under taboo. See the verb.
- To put under taboo; disallow, or forbid the use of; interdict approach to, or contact or intercourse with; hence, to ban, exclude, or ostracize by personal authority or social influence: as, to taboo the use of tobacco; a tabooed person or subject (one not to be mentioned or discussed).
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. declare as sacred and forbidden
- adj. forbidden to profane use especially in South Pacific islands
- n. a prejudice (especially in Polynesia and other South Pacific islands) that prohibits the use or mention of something because of its sacred nature
- n. an inhibition or ban resulting from social custom or emotional aversion
- adj. excluded from use or mention
By far, the most important victory for breaking the word taboo comes in Cohen v.
In an article in the Daily Telegraph, he describes the public reaction to his remarks as "hysterical", and says that a breach in what he calls the taboo on discussing race is "punished by ostracism and worse … the witch finders already have their sights on me".
He says the Holocaust was being used to legitimise the suffering of other peoples and he wanted to break what he called a taboo on discussing it.
In short, those negative precepts which we call taboo are just as vain and futile as those positive precepts which we call sorcery.
Thai government distanced itself Wednesday from remarks in the Minister Kasit Piromya about a need for a more open discussion of what he called the taboo subject of the role of the monarchy in
The word taboo enters European languages from Captain Cook’s writings about the Pacific island peoples.
Photograph: Graeme Robertson David Starkey has defended comments he made last week on BBC's Newsnight - when he appeared to blame the recent riots in English cities on a black "gangsta" culture - by claiming that "the subject of race has become unmentionable, by whites at any rate". the Daily Telegraph, he describes the public reaction to his remarks as "hysterical", and says that a breach in what he calls the taboo on discussing race is "punished by ostracism and worse … the witch finders already have their sights on me".
And I understand why this taboo is indeed present in our society.
I mean, they were not raised as relatives ... and they do not live as relatives ... so the social taboo is a loose one.
The effect on a writer's reputation of crossing a taboo is probably far stronger when its done in their nonfiction or their public comments and is an explicit statement of their personal views.
Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.