taboo

Something considered taboo is naughty, something society considers a no-no. For example, it is taboo to ask people how much money they earn.

Taboo is one of those rare words in the English language that doesn't have Greek or Latin or French roots, coming instead from the South Pacific Islands in the eighteenth century via the explorer Captain Cook. For many islanders some things were tabu, meaning not only could they not be done but they could not be talked about either for risk of offending the Gods. This latter meaning still applies today (minus the spiritual underpinning), when we say that certain subjects are "taboo," meaning off-limits for discussion.

Definitions of taboo
1

n an inhibition or ban resulting from social custom or emotional aversion

Synonyms:
tabu
Type of:
inhibition
the quality of being inhibited

n a prejudice (especially in Polynesia and other South Pacific islands) that prohibits the use or mention of something because of its sacred nature

Synonyms:
tabu
Type of:
bias, preconception, prejudice
a partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation

adj excluded from use or mention

“a taboo subject”
Synonyms:
forbidden, out, prohibited, proscribed, tabu, verboten
impermissible
not permitted

adj forbidden to profane use especially in South Pacific islands

Synonyms:
tabu
sacred
concerned with religion or religious purposes

v declare as sacred and forbidden

Type of:
restrict
place under restrictions; limit access to

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