Difference Between Taboo and Superstition

We live in a society where we are bound to follow up on societal norms and Taboo and Superstition are one of those concepts.

It depends upon a person whether they want to follow such concepts or not but these concepts have been running after generations after generations.

We can not completely declare that these are negative ideas but depends upon where such concepts are being implemented. The rest differences have been mentioned below.

Taboo vs Superstition

The main difference between Taboo and Superstition is that taboos are generally implemented in backward regions like rural areas. On the other hand, both rural, as well as urban regions, accepts the concept of Superstition. Taboos and Superstitions set a mindset of fear and discomfort amongst the people.

Taboo vs Superstition

Taboos are the societal norms that stop you from any sort of growth. In simple words, it binds you is some specific customs and one can not go against them.

Such concepts can excessively affect one mind as it sets fear in them. Taboos can be associated with any societal norms like culturally, religiously, etc.

On the other hand, it is not at all wrong to be Superstitious, as since childhood one is being taught certain beliefs that restrict one from doing anything.

Superstitions can be termed negative thoughts that restrict a person from doing certain things as they are taught that if they practice that certain activity something bad or negative is going to knock on their doors.

Comparison Table Between Taboo and Superstition

Parameters of ComparisonTabooSuperstition
SocietyTaboos are generally followed by rural or smaller societies. Both, rural and urban societies believe in superstition thoughts.
PracticeTaboo can be termed a forced implementation from generation after generation. Having a non-logical belief, without even questioning its scientific and logical meaning.
Term TypeThe term Taboo can be used as both nouns and adjectives. Superstition is said to be a noun term.
SynonymsThe terms like prohibition, forbidden, banned, restriction, etc are synonyms for taboo. The synonyms of superstition are fear, false belief, notion, etc.
AntonymsAcceptance, Permitted, Mortality is the opposite terms of Taboo. The other widely used opposite words for Superstition are disbelief, devotion, etc.

What is Taboo?

Taboo is the restriction that binds us against a particular situation. It prohibits us from some social norms of the existing society. It can be cultural as well as religious taboos.

And here cultural taboo means the things that restrict us culturally from doing something and on the other, Religious taboo means the restrictions from the religious point of view.

Taboo is a very sensitive and crucial topic as a larger number of people in society depend upon it.

Generally, the taboo is religiously followed in the rural or backward classes, especially for women and the deprived people. Taboos exclude them from normal society.

Taboo is a Polynesian term and comes from the terms such as ‘tabu’ or ‘tapu’ in the Tongan language meaning ‘set apart’. The term flourished during the 18th century in the Tongan language itself.

And since then it has been closely associated with society. The term is used to objectify itself as an adjective and a noun at the same time.

And taboos are breakable or can be changed as it is only the thinking perspective of the people. But since it has been restricted culturally and religiously it has become more and more sensitive.

One fines example of the existing Taboo in society is that- women can not do jobs, and should only look after the household and children.

Such things are set in the minds of the small girls and restrict them from everything. But, some people work against it.

What is Superstition?

The belief that has no accurate logical and scientific evidence, but is still being practiced in the name of fear is known as superstition.

It creates fear in the minds before doing the tasks, and since childhood, everyone is restricted from doing something or the other and giving it the name of superstition.

Superstition has created a lot of confusion and fear mentally and also because of this many psychological problems have been emerged.

Even the most educated and renowned person or an uneducated person can believe in Superstition. It depends from person to person, but you can ignore it if you want.

There is no scientific evidence that has proven such things correct, and maybe there is but not the way it is being portrayed for many many years.

It is one such thing that can be avoided but not completely ignored as for many years we have been years some things repeatedly and such things have already taken place in our minds.

Superstition is divided into two Latin terms ‘super’ meaning ‘above’ and ‘stare’ means ‘to stand’ and together they mean the act of standing over or above’.

And initially, this term was used in the 15th century. And for a clearer look one example of Superstition is that some people believe that 13 is an unlucky number and hence they avoid the 13 number.

You can even notice that in many hotels there is no 13th floor in it. They directly skip the 12th floor to the 14th floor.

Main Differences Between Taboo and Superstition

  1. Generally, the rural people follow taboos in their society. On the other hand, in any region of the world rural or urban practices something or the other Superstition beliefs.
  2. Taboos are forced norms in some societies. On the other hand, Superstition depends upon some individuals thinking and learning.
  3. The term Taboo can be used as both adjective and a noun. On the other hand, we can only use Superstition as the noun form.
  4. There are other certain terms of Taboo like prohibition, forbidden, banned, restriction, etc. On the other hand, superstition also means fear, false belief, notion, etc.
  5. Acceptance, Permitted, Mortality, etc are some terms that portray the opposites of the term taboo. On the other hand, the antonyms for Superstition are disbelief, devotion, etc.
Difference Between Taboo and Superstition


By now, we have come to know about Taboo and Superstition, the two social norms created by man itself.

Maybe in some thoughts, there might be some logic or scientific inputs but in most of them theirs nothing but all psychological study.

Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy, etc are the branches that closely study such norms. Above, we have mentioned everything in detail and the differences between both the terms.

Such things can be changed by humans themselves, as it creates a lot of problems amongst many people.


  1. https://www.richtmann.org/journal/index.php/mjss/article/view/209
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/2051570715594132
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