I. adjective also tabu Etymology: Tongan tabu Date: 1777 1. forbidden to profane use or contact because of what are held to be dangerous supernatural powers 2. a. banned on grounds of morality or taste <
the subject is taboo
b. banned as constituting a risk <
the area beyond is taboo, still alive with explosives — Robert Leckie
II. noun also tabu (plural taboos; also tabus) Date: 1777 1. a prohibition against touching, saying, or doing something for fear of immediate harm from a supernatural force 2. a prohibition imposed by social custom or as a protective measure 3. belief in taboos III. transitive verb also tabu Date: 1777 1. to set apart as taboo especially by marking with a ritualistic symbol 2. to avoid or ban as taboo

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • taboo — [tə bo͞o′, tabo͞o′] n. pl. taboos [< a Polynesian language: cf. Tongan, Samoan, Maori, etc. tapu] 1. a) among some Polynesian peoples, a sacred prohibition put upon certain people, things, or acts which makes them untouchable, unmentionable,… …   English World dictionary

  • Taboo — Ta*boo , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Tabooed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Tabooing}.] 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. [Written also {tabu} …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Taboo — Ta*boo , a. [Written also {tabu} and {tapu}.] [Polynesian tabu, tapu, sacred, under restriction, a prohibition.] Set apart or sacred by religious custom among certain races of Polynesia, New Zealand, etc., and forbidden to certain persons or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • taboo — 1777 (in Cook s A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean ), consecrated, inviolable, forbidden, unclean or cursed, explained in some English sources as being from Tongan (Polynesian language of the island of Tonga) ta bu sacred, from ta mark + bu especially …   Etymology dictionary

  • taboo — [adj] not allowed, permitted anathema, banned, beyond the pale*, disapproved, forbidden, frowned on*, illegal, off limits*, outlawed, out of bounds*, prohibited, proscribed, reserved, restricted, ruled out, unacceptable, unmentionable,… …   New thesaurus

  • Taboo — Ta*boo , 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. [Written also… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • taboo — index ban, exclude, forbid, illicit, inhibit, prohibition, proscribe (prohibit), restraint …   Law dictionary

  • taboo — is a noun, adjective, and verb, and is pronounced with the stress on the second syllable in all three. The noun has the plural form taboos, and the verb has inflected forms taboos, tabooed, tabooing. The variant form tabu is restricted to… …   Modern English usage

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