Word taboo

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Word taboo is the restricted use of words due to social constraints. The taboo against naming the dead in parts of the world is an example. Taboo words are commonly avoided with euphemisms, such as the English euphemism pass away, meaning "die".[1] It is a common source of neologisms and lexical replacement.

Taboo-Motivated Lexical Replacement[edit]

Taboo-Motivated Lexical Replacement is a cross-linguistic phenomenon that occurs in certain languages due to social constraints applied on the speakers. It occurs when the tabooing of lexical items forces individuals to replace those lexical items.

The following languages exhibit examples of taboo-motivated lexical replacement:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lockwood, W. B. (1955). "WORD TABOO IN THE LANGUAGE OF THE FAROESE FISHERMEN". Transactions of the Philological Society. 54: 1–24. doi:10.1111/j.1467-968X.1955.tb00287.x.
  2. ^ Elmendorf, William W. (1951-01-01). "Word Taboo and Lexical Change in Coast Salish". International Journal of American Linguistics. 17 (4): 205–208. doi:10.1086/464130. JSTOR 1263104.
  3. ^ Herbert, Robert K. (1990-01-01). "The Sociohistory of Clicks in Southern Bantu". Anthropological Linguistics. 32 (3/4): 295–315. JSTOR 30028161.
  4. ^ Hart, C. W. M. (1930-01-01). "Personal Names among the Tiwi". Oceania. 1 (3): 280–290. doi:10.1002/j.1834-4461.1930.tb01650.x. JSTOR 40327328.
  5. ^ COMRIE, BERNARD (2000-01-01). "LANGUAGE CONTACT, LEXICAL BORROWING, AND SEMANTIC FIELDS". Studies in Slavic and General Linguistics. 28: 73–86. JSTOR 40997153.