Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm looking for a word or phrase that means something along the lines of "the exhilaration of taboo".

Here's the context for what I'm looking for: "It was strange and [blank] to walk around and see everyone's age so blatantly public."

share|improve this question
    
Do you mean that their ages were displayed in a blatantly public manner? What is taboo about that? At first glance, thrilling might be a fit. –  coleopterist Aug 11 '12 at 19:40
    
I agree with @coleopterist ~ can you provide another example? Or at least explain how people see "everyone's age," and what's so taboo about it? –  J.R. Aug 11 '12 at 20:36
3  
Erm... taboo/tabu is an adjective (as well as a noun). I'm having trouble thinking of how the concept could be used adverbially. By and large, an action is either taboo or it's not - I don't really see how you can do something "in a taboo manner". –  FumbleFingers Aug 11 '12 at 20:40
1  
@coleopterist Yes their ages were evidently displayed in a blatantly public manner. See what is apparently the OP's blog post in which this context appears: kennysong.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/triathlon –  MετάEd Aug 12 '12 at 7:15
1  
@ΜετάEd: Great detective work there! I do wish posters would stop extracting sentences and pasting them on EL&U without their surrounding content; so often, the preceding sentences are absolutely vital in correctly interpreting a word or phrase. In this case, I think "titillating" and "guilty pleasure" both fit the title of this question just fine, but, unless I had some strange age fetish, I'd hardly use those words to describe the feelings I'd have at a triathlon starting line, seeing the ages of my fellow racers. –  J.R. Aug 12 '12 at 9:49

5 Answers 5

Collins defines titillating as

of or relating to something that arouses, teases, interests, or excites someone pleasurably and often superficially He writes deliberately titillating lyrics.

Merriam-Websters offers

pleasantly stimulating or exciting , such as titillating reading; also: erotic

share|improve this answer
    
This word flashed right into my gutter-ridden mind. –  ncmathsadist Aug 12 '12 at 1:27

"Guilty pleasure" is a common phrase. Also consider hedonic, which while it denotes no more than pleasure or pursuit thereof, often connotes breaking taboos. (In noun form, hedonism.)

Edit: In the example sentence, one might replace [blank] with "gave us a frisson of Schadenfreude" or "... of superiority". Knowing others' ages is not taboo, I think, and no age is to be looked down upon, but one imagines some do.

share|improve this answer
    
Hm, it's not exactly what I'm looking for -- I added some context for the question if you want to take a look. –  kennysong Aug 11 '12 at 19:16
    
Frissons of Schaderfreude are a bit too Mercozy for my tastes. –  tchrist Aug 11 '12 at 19:27
    
Is Mercozy a variant of Merkozy ("(slang, politics) ... unified position of France and Germany ... Blend of Merkel ... and Sarkozy")? Anyway, I agree the phrase is a mix, I should have written "a peccant piquancy" instead. –  jwpat7 Aug 11 '12 at 19:43
    
I don't think hedonistic has any real connection with taboo. –  FumbleFingers Aug 11 '12 at 20:42

I wonder if our BE phrase felt a bit naughty would fill the bill in the context you give.

share|improve this answer

How about: "it was strange and transgressive"?

share|improve this answer

Since what is breached here appears to be a norm or convention rather than a taboo, how about 'provocative', which is often used in a positive sense: it is not only base or improper sentiments which may be provoked but also serious matters like political opinions or aesthetic judgments. At the very least using 'provocative' leaves room for some ambiguity which is itself, well, provocative.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.