1. ^
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  4. , p. 
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  6. Freud, Sigmund. Totem and Taboo.
    • Lewis, N. (1983). . Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0-19-814848-7.
    • Frier, Bruce W.; Bagnall, Roger S. (1994). The Demography of Roman Egypt. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-46123-8.
    • Shaw, B. D. (1992). «Explaining Incest: Brother-Sister Marriage in Graeco-Roman Egypt». Man, New Series. 27 (2): 267–299. JSTOR .
  7. Schweitzer, Albert. African Notebook 1958. Indiana University Press
  8. Ladygina-Kots, Nadezhda Nikolaevna. «Infant Ape and Human Child: (Instincts, Emotions, Play, Habits).» Journal of Russian & East European Psychology 38.1 (2000): 5-78.


  1. Knight, Steven (writer) & Nyholm, Kristoffer (director); January 14, 2017, BBC; January 17, 2017, FX; «Episode 2». Taboo.

  2. Knight, Steven (writer) & Nyholm, Kristoffer (director); January 21, 2017 BBC; January 24, 2017, FX; «Episode 3». Taboo.

  3. Knight, Steven & Ballou, Emily (writer) & Nyholm, Kristoffer (director); January 28, 2017 BBC; January 31, 2017, FX; «Episode 4». Taboo.

  4. Knight, Steven & Hervey, Ben (writer) & Engström, Anders (director); February 4, 2017 BBC; February 7, 2017, FX; «Episode 5». Taboo.

  5. Hardy, Chips & Knight, Steven (writer) & Engström, Anders (director); February 11, 2017 BBC; February 14, 2017, FX; «Episode 6». Taboo.

  6. Knight, Steven (writer) & Engström, Anders (director); February 18, 2017 BBC; February 21, 2017, FX; «Episode 7». Taboo.

  7. Knight, Steven (writer) & Engström, Anders (director); February 25, 2017 BBC; February 28, 2017, FX; «Episode 8». Taboo.

Memorable QuotesEdit

James Delaney: «And what exactly is it that my father owed you?»
Lorna Bow: «He owed me a lifetime of care. A lifetime of devotion. He owed me kisses and love. He owed me a home and a fire and perhaps children some day. In short, he owed me all that is due from a husband to a wife.»
― about Lorna Bow’s identity
«My name is Lorna Delaney, formerly Lorna Bow, and, two years ago in Dublin, Horace Delaney and I were married. And I have proof that I am his widow.»
― Lorna Bow’s claims
«I am not a courtesan.»
― Lorna Bow
«You are, in every way, an unopened box. Just when I think it’s empty, I hear a tiger roaring inside it.»
― Lorna Bow to James Delaney
«If the crown and company solve their little dispute, they will crush you between them.»
― Lorna Bow to James Delaney
«Tide’s rising. You’ve lots of people waiting for you, people who have given up everything for you, James. The tide ebbs, she’ll still be gone. The tide won’t bring her back. You know, we could just sit here in these rotting chairs in this shitty house and die, like rats, like your father.»
―Lorna urging James to react to Zilpha’s death.
«We ought to go to Nootka. If anything it’s a fine day to die at sea.»
― Lorna Bow


Some argue that contemporary Western multicultural societies have taboos against tribalisms (for example, ethnocentrism and nationalism) and prejudices (racism, sexism, and religious extremism).

Changing social customs and standards also create new taboos, such as bans on slavery; extension of the pedophilia taboo to ephebophilia; prohibitions on alcohol, tobacco, or psychopharmaceutical consumption (particularly among pregnant women); and the employment of politically correct euphemisms – at times quite unsuccessfully – to mitigate various alleged forms of discrimination.

Incest itself has been pulled both ways, with some seeking to normalize consensual adult relationships regardless of the degree of kinship (notably in Europe) and others expanding the degrees of prohibited contact (notably in the United States.) Although the term taboo usually implies negative connotations, it is sometimes associated with enticing propositions in proverbs such as forbidden fruit is the sweetest.

In medicine, professionals who practice in ethical and moral grey areas, or fields subject to social stigma such as late termination of pregnancy, may refrain from public discussion of their practice. Among other reasons, this taboo may come from concern that comments may be taken out of the appropriate context and used to make ill-informed policy decisions.


The term «taboo» comes from the Tongan tapu or Fijian tabu («prohibited», «disallowed», «forbidden»), related among others to the Maori tapu and Hawaiian kapu. Its English use dates to 1777 when the British explorer James Cook visited Tonga, and referred to the Tongans’ use of the term «taboo» for «any thing is forbidden to be eaten, or made use of». He wrote:

The term was translated to him as «consecrated, inviolable, forbidden, unclean or cursed.»Tabu itself has been derived from alleged Tongan morphemes ta («mark») and bu («especially»), but this may be a folk etymology (Tongan does not actually have a phoneme /b/), and tapu is usually treated as a unitary, non-compound word inherited from Proto-Polynesian *tapu, in turn inherited from Proto-Oceanic *tabu, with the reconstructed meaning «sacred, forbidden.» In its current use on Tonga, the word tapu means «sacred» or «holy», often in the sense of being restricted or protected by custom or law. On the main island, the word is often appended to the end of «Tonga» as Tongatapu, here meaning «Sacred South» rather than «Forbidden South».


Cannibalism, Brazil. Engraving by Theodor de Bry for Hans Staden’s account of his 1557 captivity.

Sigmund Freud speculated that incest and patricide were the only two universal taboos and formed the basis of civilization. However, although cannibalism, in-group murder, and incest are taboo in the majority of societies, exceptions can be found, such as marriages between brothers and sisters in Roman Egypt. Modern Western societies, however, do not condone such relationships. These familial sexual activities are criminalised, even if all parties are consenting adults. Through an analysis of the language surrounding these laws, it can be seen how the policy makers, and society as a whole, find these acts to be immoral.

Common taboos involve restrictions or ritual regulation of killing and hunting; sex and sexual relationships; reproduction; the dead and their graves; as well as food and dining (primarily cannibalism and dietary laws such as vegetarianism, kashrut, and halal) or religious (treif and haram). In Madagascar, a strong code of taboos, known as fady, constantly change and are formed from new experiences. Each region, village or tribe may have its own fady.[citation needed]

Albert Schweitzer wrote a chapter about taboos of the people of Gabon. As an example, it was considered a misfortune for twins to be born, and they would be subject to many rules not incumbent on other people.

See also

  • Anathema – Something or someone that is detested or shunned
  • Deviance – Action or behavior that violates social norms
  • Etiquette – Customary code of polite behaviour
  • Geas – An idiosyncratic taboo, whether of obligation or prohibition, similar to being under a vow
  • Morality – Differentiation of intentions, decisions and actions between those that are distinguished as proper and those that are improper
  • Naming taboos
  • Obscenity – Act or statement that offends the morality of the period
  • Public morality
  • Sexual ethics – The study of ethical conduct in human sexuality, and sexual behavior
  • Social stigma – Type of discrimination or disapproval
  • Taboo on rulers
  • Taboo on the dead
  • Word taboo

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