- The definition of taboo is something prohibited, forbidden or restricted.
An example of taboo is alcohol which is drunk while pregnant.
- A taboo is defined as a restriction or something not allowed by a culture.
An example of a taboo in some cultures is a man marrying a woman of another race.
taboo definition by Webster's New World
- among some Polynesian peoples, a sacred prohibition put upon certain people, things, or acts which makes them untouchable, unmentionable, etc.
- the highly developed system or practice of such prohibitions
- any social prohibition or restriction that results from convention or tradition
- Linguis. the substitution of one word or phrase for another because of such restriction
Origin: ; from a Polynesian language: compare Tongan, Samoan, Maori, and the like tapu
- sacred and prohibited by taboo
- restricted by taboo: said of people
- prohibited or forbidden by tradition, convention, etc.
taboo definition by American Heritage Dictionary
also ta·bunoun pl. ta·boos also ta·bus
- A ban or an inhibition resulting from social custom or emotional aversion.
- a. A prohibition, especially in Polynesia and other South Pacific islands, excluding something from use, approach, or mention because of its sacred and inviolable nature.b. An object, a word, or an act protected by such a prohibition.
Origin: Tongan tabu, under prohibition.Word History: Among the many discoveries of Captain James Cook was a linguistic one, the term taboo. In a journal entry from 1777, Cook says this word “has a very comprehensive meaning; but, in general, signifies that a thing is forbidden᠁ When any thing is forbidden to be eat, or made use of, they say, that it is taboo.” Cook was in the Friendly Islands (now Tonga) at the time, so even though similar words occur in other Polynesian languages, the form taboo from Tongan tabu is the one we have borrowed. The Tongans used tabu as an adjective. Cook, besides borrowing the word into English, also made it into a noun referring to the prohibition itself and a verb meaning “to make someone or something taboo.” From its origins in Polynesia the word taboo has traveled as widely as Cook himself and is now used throughout the English-speaking world.
taboo - Cultural Definition
A descriptive term for words, objects, actions, or people that are forbidden by a group or culture. The expression comes from the religion of islanders of the South Pacific.
taboo - Medical Definition
or ta·bunoun pl. ta·boos or ta·bus