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
- 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.
- 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.
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
Tongan tabu, under prohibition.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Tongan tapu ("prohibited"). The word entered English around 1777. Ultimately from Proto-Polynesian *tapu. (Wiktionary)