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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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 early ’00s was a time when sharing the keys, to say nothing of the codes, to the big fashion kingdoms being established by LVMH and then-PPR, now-Kering, was verboten. Steff Yotka, Vogue, 6 May 2021 Working out was once verboten, because doing what archetypical jocks were doing was inherently understood as a betrayal of the skateboarding lifestyle. Adam Elder, New York Times, 16 July 2021 Yet discussing historical gynecological abuses, especially against disabled people, is verboten. Leslie Kay Jones,, 9 July 2021 Bare midriffs are verboten (even though boys often go shirtless at their camps). David Noyce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 24 June 2021 While parking big trucks on residential streets already is verboten, the City Council will decide in coming weeks whether to expand restrictions to ban truck parking on all city streets. Janet Moore, Star Tribune, 23 June 2021 So repairing transmission lines that transport power from fossil-fuel plants is verboten. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 2 June 2021 The zombies have warned that spoilers are verboten, so, quickly: Las Vegas, that city full of ersatz monuments of the world and totems to the get-rich fantasies that gambling enables, has become a zombie city. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, 11 May 2021 Interracial relationships were verboten in living memory. Liz Elting, Forbes, 20 May 2021

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

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The first known use of verboten was in 1866

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Last Updated

1 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Verboten.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.

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