ver·bo·ten | \ vər-ˈbō-tᵊn , 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

Second, except for the hint of blue in the painting at left, color seems verboten. Catherine Romano, WSJ, "A 21st-Century Approach to a 19th-Century Townhouse," 29 June 2018 Avoiding conflicts of interest is a basic tenet of journalism, and intimate involvement with a source is considered verboten. Emily Flitter, New York Times, "How an Affair Between a Reporter and a Security Aide Has Rattled Washington Media," 24 June 2018 Serena Joy goes to her room without touching her husband and throws Mark’s verboten Hawaiian matches on the fire. Rena Gross, Billboard, "9 Major Moments From 'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 2, Episode 9 'Smart Power'," 13 June 2018 As is the case with most exclusive and exclusionary private clubs, photography of the club interiors and, more importantly, its members, is strictly verboten. Steven Stolman, Town & Country, "High Society Photographer Bert Morgan Chronicled the Hamptons' Smart Set Before Everything Changed," 13 June 2018 Offensive marines are still verboten, but defensive marines, designed to protect and retake Japanese territory are technically within bounds. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Japan Activates First Amphibious Unit Since World War II," 10 Apr. 2018 For now, the CBD beers will be available only to drink at the SoMa taproom; offsite consumption is verboten. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "S.F.’s Black Hammer Brewing ordered to stop making cannabis beer," 23 May 2018 For somebody in their early 20s, mental and physical health shouldn't require abiding by strict rules and avoiding a list of verboten food groups. Brennan Kilbane, GQ, "The Least Stressful Way to Get Rid of Stress," 16 May 2018 Shorts and flipflops may be welcomed, but dogs are still verboten. Roger Showley,, "Office creativity: Hammocks, slides, operable windows, rooftop bars — but 'clean desks' and private offices are returning," 17 Feb. 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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The first known use of verboten was in 1916

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