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

Definition of verboten

: not permitted or allowed : forbidden or prohibited by or as if by authority These visits … qualify as "research" under the convoluted regulations of the U.S. embargo and are therefore deemed legal, whereas pleasure travel is verboten.— Richard Alleman Same-sex marriage and gay parents, topics once verboten in mainstream America, have become hot-buttons in this election year.— Dirk Johnson et al. … it's easy to forget that such intercultural exchanges were once verboten.Boston For a long time paisley ties were verboten on the Jayhawk bench because Brown was wearing one when he lost his first game at Kansas five years ago.— Jack McCallum

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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 Though the team likely will ease into things beginning with today’s practice, 5-on-5 is no longer verboten as players ramp up toward playing games that count. Jeff Mcdonald,, "First step for Spurs in Orlando: Shaping up," 10 July 2020 With in-person dining still verboten in the city and gatherings of 10 or more discouraged, catering is nearly nonexistent these days. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bay View's Little Duck sandwich shop pop-up takes after Odd Duck, in the best ways," 27 May 2020 Going to the pool was verboten, so swimming was out, isolation was in. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, "For those who survived polio, coronavirus is eerily familiar. But ultimately, 'science won'.," 21 Mar. 2020 While play dates, going to the movies, the zoo or a museum are verboten right now, there are some high-tech options like enjoying a virtual visit to one of the world’s great museums. cleveland, "Libraries, churches, public buildings, events are impacted by coronavirus pandemic: West Shore Chatter," 17 Mar. 2020 Buzzing Yuma was verboten, its air space restricted because of nearby U.S. military installations. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "'Flying Car Mode' and other secrets of the 2020 Corvette Stingray," 21 Feb. 2020 Topics relating to censorship itself, usually absolutely verboten, trended for several hours before being deleted, rare evidence of indecision and confusion. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "Deadliest day for coronavirus as mainland China records 86 fatalities, while US announces first American death," 8 Feb. 2020 Not too long ago, audiences turned to late night not to process the world but to forget the world; nightmare fodder so close to bedtime was verboten. Jessica M. Goldstein, Washington Post, "The calm in the storm," 13 Feb. 2020 That would suggest he’s using someone else’s copyright for his own financial gain, which is almost always verboten, but made especially so because Griner has a history of licensing the meme to companies like Honey Bunches of Oats and Coca-Cola. Emma Grey Ellis, Wired, "Success Kid's Mom Won't Stand for Steve King's 'Meme' Ad," 30 Jan. 2020

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

1866, 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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Time Traveler for verboten

Time Traveler

The first known use of verboten was in 1866

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Last Updated

19 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Verboten.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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