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

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 At the time, bad-mouthing the Soviet Union was almost verboten. Bill Donahue, Washington Post, 17 Aug. 2022 When laws in several states went into effect last July, a practice that had been verboten — getting paid for being a college athlete — became, in an instant, almost unfettered. New York Times, 4 Apr. 2022 Tennessee and Louisiana recently amended their state laws to expressly allow involvement that was once verboten. Zach Osterman, The Indianapolis Star, 5 Aug. 2022 Meanwhile, any public criticism of Trump is strictly verboten. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 22 Apr. 2022 That bit of backstory was verboten for the game's German release, thanks to that country's long-standing (and recently reversed) prohibition on using Nazi symbols and storylines in video games. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, 21 June 2022 Collectibles such as stamps, coins, rugs or antiques have long been verboten. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, 17 June 2022 After all, weed has been at the forefront of policy discussions in the U.S. over the past decade, with the formerly verboten drug now legalized for recreational use in 18 states and decriminalized in 13 more. Christian Holub,, 20 Apr. 2022 His wife, Heidi Montag, has eliminated single-use plastic in their home, making balloons verboten. New York Times, 24 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of verboten was in 1866

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Last Updated

18 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Verboten.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2022.

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