• WordNet 3.6
    • adj taboo excluded from use or mention "forbidden fruit","in our house dancing and playing cards were out","a taboo subject"
    • adj taboo forbidden to profane use especially in South Pacific islands
    • v taboo declare as sacred and forbidden
    • n taboo an inhibition or ban resulting from social custom or emotional aversion
    • n taboo a prejudice (especially in Polynesia and other South Pacific islands) that prohibits the use or mention of something because of its sacred nature
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Taboo 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.
    • a Taboo 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; as, food, places, words, customs, etc., may be taboo .
    • v. t Taboo 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.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • taboo 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 taboo 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. Taboo rests primarily upon religious sanctions, but is also a civil institution; and a taboo may be applied in various ways by a priest or a chief, or even sometimes by a private person, though with limited effect. Some taboos are permanently established, especially those affecting women; a special taboo may affect any of the relations or doings of life, or any subject animate or inanimate, either permanently or for a fixed period. As an institution, taboo has ceased or is dying out in most of the regions mentioned, through European influence; but both the principle and the practice have existed or still exist to some extent, under different names, among primitive peoples generally.
    • n taboo 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.
    • taboo 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).
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Taboo ta-bōō′ an institution among the Polynesians, forming a penal system based on religious sanctions, by which certain things are held sacred or consecrated, and hence prohibited to be used—by a natural transference of meaning by association of ideas becoming equivalent to 'unholy,' 'accursed'—also Tamboo′, Tambu′, and Tapu′: any prohibition, interdict, restraint, ban, exclusion, ostracism
    • v.t Taboo to forbid approach to: to forbid the use of:—pr.p. tabōō′ing; pa.t. and pa.p. tabōōed′
    • ***


  • Kate Millet
    Kate Millet
    “Isn't privacy about keeping taboos in their place?”
  • Michael Malone
    Michael Malone
    “I think the greatest taboos in America are faith and failure.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Polynesian tabu, tapu, sacred, under restriction, a prohibition


In literature:

But if Musicians are tabooed, why not Actors?
"Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 103, December 17, 1892" by Various
Some, I know, believe that all religious conversation should be strictly tabooed in any reference to secular matters.
"She and I, Volume 2" by John Conroy Hutcheson
Tea and coffee were tabooed by these people.
"The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 101, March, 1866" by Various
They had not gone far before the lieutenant tabooed all talking.
"Fitz the Filibuster" by George Manville Fenn
The taboo system is also very curious.
"The Cruise of the Mary Rose" by William H. G. Kingston
As a rule, eccentricity is a badge of power, but how many women would not rather strangle their individuality than be tabooed by Mrs. Grundy?
"Architects of Fate" by Orison Swett Marden
It seems such places are tabooed there.
"The Life and Adventures of Nat Love" by Nat Love
To Forster, however, this agreeable spirit was taboo.
"John Forster" by Percy Hethrington Fitzgerald
In Nimar the caste have some curious taboos.
"The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India" by R. V. Russell
I hoped I wasn't breaking too many taboos by going in.
"The Repairman" by Harry Harrison

In poetry:

Tell me what's wrong
with words or with you
that you don't mind the thing
yet the name is taboo.
"Conundrums" by D H Lawrence
There must have been a warning given once:
No tree, on pain of withering and sawfly,
To reach the slimmest of his snaky toes
Into this mounded sward and rumple it;
All trees stand back: taboo is on this soil. —
"Ryton Firs" by Lascelles Abercrombie

In news:

Bill Clinton is interviewed in the documentary 'Breaking the Taboo.'.
They were just culturally taboo, OK only for jail inmates, sailors, street gang members and in love drunks.
A once-taboo word now calls out from a storefront.
A new doc tells the story of a Supreme Court case that legalized once-taboo marriages 45 years ago.
But why is it taboo to talk about fetal loss in public.
Sanford Women's Health is raising awareness about the often taboo topic.
A hip-hop group formed in Los Angeles in 1995 by members include, s, Taboo, and Fergie.
It mainly comprises rappers,, and Taboo, and singer Fergie.
The group is composed of,, Taboo and Fergie.
In our June 2009 issue, we'll be running a concept feature that turns the taboo topic of toilets into a fascinating exploration of design solutions for addressing global sanitation and water crises.
Media, fashion, pop-culture and other taboo topics are brought into the analytic suite and are invited to bare it all as they lie on a comfy couch.
What could be more taboo than thinking of America's perfect TV mom in that way.
A once- taboo word now calls out from a storefront.
Abortion No Longer Taboo Topic on Prime Time Television.
STOCKTON, CALIF —If you've got a yen for some alligator, rattlesnake or other exotic meat, visit Taboo by the Delta soon before it shuts its doors forever.

In science:

For massive stars, though, magnetic fields still seem to be mostly taboo for the time-being.
Eta Carinae and Nebulae Around Massive Stars: Similarities to Planetary Nebulae?
Until the beginning of the 1980s, the relation between the Sun and climate change was still viewed with suspicion by the wider climate community and often remained a “taboo” sub ject in the solar astrophysics community.
Proceedings of the 2011 New York Workshop on Computer, Earth and Space Science
For a symmetric, homogeneous and irreducible random walk on Zd , d ∈ N, having zero mean and a finite variance of jumps, we study the passage times (taking values in [0, ∞]) determined by the starting point x, the hitting state y and the taboo state z .
The Hitting Times with Taboo for a Random Walk on an Integer Lattice
In contrast, for a simple random walk on Z, the asymptotic properties of hitting times with taboo essentially depend on the mutual location of the points x, y and z .
The Hitting Times with Taboo for a Random Walk on an Integer Lattice
Keywords and phrases: random walks on integer lattices, hitting times, taboo probabilities, branching random walk.
The Hitting Times with Taboo for a Random Walk on an Integer Lattice