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 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 Black clothes, formerly verboten, are all over the racks. Washington Post, 23 Nov. 2021 Isolated in a segregated environment where personal expression is verboten, 26 year-old artist Jesse Krimes covertly creates conceptual art during his six-year prison sentence. Brent Lang, Variety, 12 Nov. 2021 With that diplomatic exodus came the rolling up of the clandestine network of restaurants, hotels and houses where an expat and a small subset of Afghans could enjoy beer or liquor in a country where alcohol was strictly verboten. Los Angeles Times, 24 Sep. 2021 That also applies in your own hotel for the first two weeks, when public transportation is verboten in a city of gridlocked street traffic. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 July 2021 Now the homemaking maven is venturing into the (possibly once-verboten territory of) frozen food aisles. Louis Biscotti, Forbes, 12 Oct. 2021 There’s another sometimes verboten term that Billig Rich isn’t afraid to use. Chris Willman, Variety, 25 Sep. 2021 These devices are considered verboten among luthiers, who pride themselves on achieving results purely with their own hands. Jennifer Gerste, The New Yorker, 2 July 2021 Traditionally, climate change has been a near-verboten subject in her state, Rosser said. NBC News, 29 Sep. 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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The first known use of verboten was in 1866

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Last Updated

29 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Verboten.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2021.

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