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
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.
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