20 Examples of Taboos

The word taboo has multiple meanings, and explaining its meaning requires talking about a purely social issue: the taboo is always established within a conformed group, and it is produced only by the quality of men to organize themselves to live in community.

It is usually considered a taboo to everything that is restricted and prohibited , but not in the coercive sense of Justice and the penal apparatus of the State, but from a moral point of view . The taboo meant a starting point for the constitution of Law, before it became the organizer of most societies.

The fundamental issue of the taboo is its character as a transgressor: performing an action that is considered a taboo implies colliding with what is considered good taste, which is in no way objective or eternal. Taboos are changing , both over time and even at the same time in different places.

A central issue when a person who is not part of a community temporarily participates in it is to know the taboos of the place , precisely so as not to have problems.

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This question of the great differences on taboos shows that, in general, the main reason for the formation of them is not to persuade people to act in such a way that society can live its life in a context of harmony but rather a origin much less well-founded, and more intrinsic to society: even in primitive community groups it was thought that if man committed certain acts he must inevitably suffer certain consequences .

Both nationality and religion are the two groups of belonging that make up most of the taboos: based on the sanction and custom , different habits were becoming forbidden for some communities.

Although all these prohibitions are supported by some reason, it is quite frequent that the observer outside the community only observes the prohibition, without knowing the cause that motivates it.

Taboos today


In modern Western societies, the idea of ??taboo took on a new meaning, which are the issues that you voluntarily choose not to talk about . It happens very often in which some people can feel really hurt by a comment that another has made.

To prevent this from happening, there are a series of topics that are generally chosen not to be touched (also words that are chosen not to be said by replacing them with others) although on some occasions these topics are part of life, and must inexorably be talked about at some time .

Even in the smallest and most closed groups, such as families, there are taboo subjects that are not touched due to some particular circumstance that only its members know about. A very common taboo subject is those related to sexuality.


Examples of taboos

  1. Eating dogs, in the European or American communities. In countries like China or Korea, it is seen as normal.
  2. In some communities, premarital sex is frowned upon.
  3. Due to superstitions, people often avoid going under a ladder, opening an umbrella inside a house, or passing a packet of salt from one hand to the other.
  4. Talking about death is often a taboo subject. Alternative expressions such as ‘pass to a better life’ are chosen instead of the simple ‘die’.
  5. Almost all practices related to the dead are considered taboo.
  6. Homosexuality was a taboo in many communities for a long time. Western societies are currently making it stop being so.
  7. Within certain communities, body piercing is not accepted.
  8. Eating meat, for those who adhere to the Buddhist religion.
  9. Feeding on human flesh.
  10. Within families, many times it is chosen to avoid any discussion of a political nature, due to the different affiliations of the members.
  11. Perform incest, practice sexual relations with members of one’s own family.
  12. Eating cows for the Hindu religion. The other religions do not forbid it.
  13. Eating pigs for the Jewish religion.
  14. Most of the sexual organs, like the penis and the vagina, are not pronounced like this in public but have other words in their place.
  15. The way women dress in some Middle Eastern societies.
  16. Eating cats in Europe and part of America.
  17. Zoophilia, having sex with animals.
  18. Some diseases that can be very serious, such as AIDS, cancer or Alzheimer’s, are not usually pronounced as their name implies.
  19. The words ‘seniors’ or ‘elderly’ to avoid saying ‘old’.
  20. Eating blood sausages for the Islamist and Jewish religion.



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