taboo


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taboo

or

tabu

(both: tăbo͞o`, tə–), prohibition of an act or the use of an object or word under pain of punishment. Originally a Polynesian word, taboo can apply to the sacred or consecrated or to the dangerous, unclean, and forbidden. A taboo can be placed on an object, person, place, or word that is believed to have inherent power above the ordinary. This power, called mana, can only be approached by special priests. To give distinction to special moments in the life cycle, taboos are often declared at births, deaths, initiations, and marriages. Taboos are commonly placed on a clan's ancestral guardian, called the totemtotem
, an object, usually an animal or plant (or all animals or plants of that species), that is revered by members of a particular social group because of a mystical or ritual relationship that exists with that group.
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. The breaking of a taboo usually requires extermination of the offender or some sort of ceremonial purification in order to remove the taint from the community. Often the mana of a taboo is so great that the offender will suffer punishment, even death, merely through fear of its powers.

Bibliography

See J. G. Frazer, Taboo and the Perils of the Soul (3d ed. 1955); S. Freud, Totem and Taboo (1960, orig. 1918); M. Douglas, Purity and Danger (1970).

taboo

or

tabu

any ritual prohibition on certain activities. The term originally comes from Captain Cook's description of Polynesian custom. It may involve the avoidance of certain people, places, objects or actions, and the universal incest taboo is a much cited example of the latter. Much work on this area has been carried out from within anthropology in an attempt to explain why, for instance, different foods are avoided within various cultures. Functionalists prefer explanations of taboo and TOTEMISM in terms of group solidarity, whilst structuralists, such as M. DOUGLAS in Purity and Danger (1966), have focused on taboos as a problem in classifying ambiguity.

Taboo

 

(1) A prohibition in preclass societies against touching, taking, or using a thing or person deemed sacred. The violation of a taboo is supposed to bring supernatural reprisal.

The taboo custom was first described in 1771 by the explorer J. Cook in reference to the aborigines of the Tonga Islands. In the Polynesian culture, everything relating to the divine, or supernatural, and hence everything belonging to priests and chiefs was taboo. The notion of taboo apparently originated in conjunction with the need in formative societies to regulate individual behavior according to the interests of the group. Taboos thus governed the most important aspects of a person’s life, such as the observance of laws or customs regarding exogamy. Food taboos were also widespread. Vestiges of the taboo custom are preserved in modern religions; the Christian concept of sin, for example, is analogous to taboo.

REFERENCES

Takarev, S. A. Rannie formy religii i ikh razvitie. Moscow, 1964.
Semenov, Iu. I. Kak vozniklo chelovechestvo. Moscow, 1966.
(2) In linguistics, a taboo is a word whose use is either forbidden or scrupulously avoided because of religious beliefs, superstitions, social prohibitions, or the like. In Russian, for example, the word “bear” is substituted by commercial hunters with such expressions as “master of the house,” “clown,” or simply “he.”

M. V. KRIUKOV

taboo

, tabu
1. (in Polynesia and other islands of the South Pacific) marked off as simultaneously sacred and forbidden
2. ritual restriction or prohibition, esp of something that is considered holy or unclean
References in periodicals archive ?
Hence, the Shona have a taboo which states Ukatuka kana kurova mai unotanda botso (If you scold or beat your mother you will suffer terribly), and similarly, the Venda have U sema mubebi zwi khou disa tshinyama/ matudzi (If you scold your parent you will experience bad luck).
this category consists of some words which are neutral but they are considered taboo if one uses as swear like pig in English/khenzir in Yemeni/ (khuk in Persian), dog/kalb in Yemeni/(sag in Persian), Jews/yahoodi in Yemeni/ (yahudi and johud in Persian).
He added that traditionally, monthly periods were kept secret "but today for the good of our children let's break the silence and stigma surrounding menstruation, let's break taboos and start talking to our children about menstruation management so that they can complete their studies and keep themselves clean.
Asking them why they believed it was taboo to raise twins, the journalists got a troubling response.
With his unique style and energy, which comes across on and off the stage, Taboo is set to create a worldwide trend.
Thanks to Jon and Renee, they are there for our Taboo community, and knowing them, we will continue to walk, talk, and write on the edge.
Fortunately for everyone who got to meet Jaime Luis GEmez, better known by his stage name Taboo and for being a member of The Black Eyed Peas, when he visited the sultanate last week, he was as energetic and excitable in person as fans will have come to expect.
My conclusion was that the biggest taboo in today's society is how to be yourself.
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Advances made in especially the field of instantaneous and omnipresent cyber communication have contributed to a world where few taboos still exist.