verboten

adjective
ver·​bo·​ten | \ vər-ˈbō-tᵊn How to pronounce verboten (audio) , fər-, ver-\

Definition of verboten

: forbidden especially : prohibited by dictate

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Did You Know?

Despite its spelling, the adjective verboten has nothing to do with verb, or any of the other words in our language related to Latin verbum. Rather, verboten comes from German, which got it from Old High German farboten, the past participle of the verb farbioten, meaning "to forbid." (Forbid itself derives from Old English forbeodan, a relative of farbioten.) Verboten, which first appeared in English in 1916, is used to describe things that are forbidden according to a law or a highly regarded authority. There also exists a noun verboten, meaning "something forbidden by authority" (as in "well-established verbotens"), but this use is quite rare and is typically entered only in large, unabridged dictionaries.

Examples of verboten in a Sentence

a college campus on which any form of hate speech was strictly verboten

Recent Examples on the Web

The short answer is its ingredients — which mimic the verboten crustacean with a proprietary algae blend — could well be both kosher and halal. Washington Post, "Shalt thou eat an Impossible Burger? Religious doctrine scrambles to catch up to new food technology.," 12 Sep. 2019 The German press was scandalized by this use of verboten vocabulary, and as a consequence the original Taz writer and two of the paper’s editors were sacked. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "The Death of Taboo," 27 June 2019 The view that most Americans held as recently as 2010 is now a position reserved for the nation’s verboten fringe. John Hirschauer, National Review, "Reparations for Everyone, Apparently," 26 June 2019 The generational shift within the game of baseball has taken such displays of emotion from verboten to marketing strategy. Jon Tayler, SI.com, "There's No Villain in the Madison Bumgarner-Max Muncy Spat," 11 June 2019 Then, Venice made certain areas verboten to non-residents. Erin Florio, Condé Nast Traveler, "Driving the Dolomites? You've Got an Hour, Authorities Say," 24 July 2018 New commercial ventures are verboten, and the rezoning process relies heavily on community input. Alex Bhattacharji, Town & Country, "An Empty Lot Above Beverly Hills Is the Most Expensive Real Estate in the World," 17 Jan. 2019 The idea of putting a life-size anything in any of my small-scale photographs was absolutely verboten in my work. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "Artist Laurie Simmons Just Made Her First Wearable Artwork: A Bold Red Lipstick," 22 Oct. 2018 Yet one figure seems verboten in the craft world: calories. William Bostwick, WSJ, "Finally, Light Beers That Aren’t Light on Flavor," 8 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'verboten.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of verboten

1916, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for verboten

borrowed from German, going back to Old High German farboten, past participle of farbiotan "to forbid," (parallel to Old English forbēodan "to forbid entry 1"), from far-, fur- for- + biotan "to offer" — more at bid entry 1

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Statistics for verboten

Last Updated

2 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for verboten

The first known use of verboten was in 1916

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