Definition of tapu in English:



  • Forbidden; taboo.

    • ‘That is, students warrant exposure to what is important and treasured about Maori culture, with the proviso that this doesn't signal handing over knowledge that is deemed tapu or intensely personal.’
    • ‘Almost nothing can happen - certainly nothing can be officially opened - without a Maori ceremony, which will frequently include a lifting of tapu, or an invocation to banish spirits.’
    • ‘It says the Te Tumu Pa site, river mouth and river margins should be tapu forever out of respect for the tribes which fought there.’
    • ‘No man had ever set foot on Mount Egmont's utmost peak - the mountain was considered tapu by the local Maori and the European whalers who lived at Ngamotu turned their backs to the mighty cone and looked to the sea.’
    • ‘When a sick person died, the tohunga would blame it on the patient, saying they had breached tapu or had committed a spiritual transgression.’
    forbidden, prohibited, banned, proscribed, vetoed, ruled out, interdicted, outlawed, not permitted, not allowed, illegal, illicit, unlawful, impermissible, not acceptable, restricted, frowned on, beyond the pale, off limits, out of bounds
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