What is verbal taboo?

A taboo word is one that it is inappropriate to say aloud or to print in a newspaper. These words will vary between cultures or contexts. For example words that you might use in a group of same-sex peers but that you would not use to your parents. In some cultures it is forbidden to speak aloud the name of God. Taboo words customarily include swear words and words that refer to body parts or sexual acts or that might invite bad luck if used aloud.

Languages usually develop a whole series of euphemisms which are words we use to express our meaning but to avoid saying the taboo word. For example to describe female sexual organs we may use a scientific term like 'vagina' or 'pudenda' or we may use a euphemism like 'down there' 'lady parts' or 'Aunt Mary' - but it is taboo to use the c-word (and there's another euphemism!)