Historical Word Trivia

Orlan Smith shares with us the origins and original meanings of words that may have fallen into disuse or have been redefined over time.



Europeans who ventured into the South Seas during early voyages of exploration were intrigued by colorful native customs. Some of the most puzzling were those that forbade passage or contact. Among the Tongans, it seemed that everywhere a seaman turned he was confronted by a priest who barred his way and uttered: “Tabu!, Tabu!” (Forbidden!, Forbidden!)

Respectfully Submitted by
Orlan Smith