(noun) An act considered so offensive to norms, particularly mores (moral norms) as to be reviled.

Example: Incest, which is sexual relations with a family member.

Audio Pronunciation: (ta·boo)

Download Audio Pronunciation: taboo.mp3

Usage Notes:

  • Plural: taboos
  • The incest taboo is considered a basic social fact in alliance theory.
  • Variant form: tabu

Related Quotations:

  • “Violation of taboos is punishable by the group or even, according to certain belief system, by a supernatural force. The incest taboo which prohibits sexual or martial relations between certain categories of kin, is an example of a nearly universal taboo” (Kendall 2006:56).

Related Terms: 



Kendall, Diane. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.