Definition of "taboo" []

  • A ban or an inhibition resulting from social custom or emotional aversion. (noun)
  • A prohibition, especially in Polynesia and other South Pacific islands, excluding something from use, approach, or mention because of its sacred and inviolable nature. (noun)
  • An object, a word, or an act protected by such a prohibition. (noun)
  • Excluded or forbidden from use, approach, or mention: a taboo subject. (adjective)
  • To exclude from use, approach, or mention; place under taboo. (verb-transitive)
  • Forbidden or disapproved of; placed under a social prohibition or ban (adjective)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • (in Polynesia and other islands of the South Pacific) marked off as simultaneously sacred and forbidden (adjective)
  • Any prohibition resulting from social or other conventions (noun)
  • Ritual restriction or prohibition, esp of something that is considered holy or unclean (noun)
  • To place under a taboo (verb) (c) HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 2016

Use "taboo" in a sentence
  • "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."