ver·​bo·​ten vər-ˈbō-tᵊn How to pronounce verboten (audio)
: 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

Did you know?

Despite its spelling, the adjective verboten has nothing to do with verb, or any of the other words in English related to Latin verbum. Rather, verboten comes from German, and originally from Old High German farboten, the past participle of the verb farbioten, meaning "to forbid." (Forbid itself derives from Old English forbēodan, a relative of farbioten.) Verboten is used to describe things that are forbidden according to a law or a highly regarded authority. There also exists the rarely used noun verboten, meaning "something forbidden by authority," as in "well-established verbotens."

Examples of verboten in a Sentence

a college campus on which any form of hate speech was strictly verboten
Recent Examples on the Web Apparently, Porsche will also allow this panel to stream video content, which heretofore has been considered verboten, a potential distraction to the driver. Turbo GT is only available with the elegant fastback coupé roofline. Mark Ewing, Forbes, 17 Apr. 2023 Workplace romances are verboten, so Emily and Luke have to keep their relationship, not to mention their recent engagement, on the down-low. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 23 Jan. 2023 Lieberman is dismayed that beans and lentils are verboten. Jeff Wheelwright, Discover Magazine, 1 Apr. 2015 Mentioning competitors or their films directly is verboten when campaigning. Nicole Sperling, New York Times, 30 Jan. 2023 If not for the 2022 playoffs, Strasburg's name may very well be verboten in Houston. Michael Shapiro, Chron, 27 Jan. 2023 If foreign accents were tolerated, regional accents were verboten. Jordan Riefe, Los Angeles Times, 27 Dec. 2022 And video games, one of the main reasons children want these devices, would be verboten. Caren Chesler, Discover Magazine, 5 Aug. 2022 Annie Murphy also plays a prominent role, but describing that role is verboten, too. Vulture, 18 Apr. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'verboten.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1866, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of verboten was in 1866


Dictionary Entries Near verboten

Cite this Entry

“Verboten.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2024.

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