I am confused about the usage of this word. I know the meaning it conveys. Help?

  • OneLook finds the word in only one dictionary where it means "Things not to be mentioned, things to be silent about"; I guess it's used in the same way as Agenda, "things to be discussed".
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 13:07
  • OED has much the same definition. I don't recall seeing the word before, but I assume if I ever did I might have guessed the meaning in context by extension from taciturn. It's actually quite difficult to find an English usage in Google Books (I just see it turning up in hundreds of Latin texts). And given many/most people won't understand the term, I suggest that the answer to "How is it used?" should probably be inappropriately in most cases. Use taboo subjects instead. Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 13:22
  • @Fumble Or secrets, which I suppose it might refer to as well. It is just the neuter plural of the gerundive of taceō ‘be silent (about)’ in Latin, so ‘things that (one) should be silent (about)’. As opposed to tacendi which, if you ask me, would be a brilliant term for small children. Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 21:30
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    @FumbleFingers Well, the sour-faced women would have to be tacendae (or perhaps even the tacentes). I was playing with the transitivity of the Latin verb there: tacendī could be either “those who must be silenced” or, mutatis mutandis, “those who need to STFU”. ;-) Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 21:43
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    Usage: I go to the post office when I want tacenda letter :-)
    – Frank H.
    Commented Sep 29, 2014 at 12:30

2 Answers 2


Tacenda is an obsolete (Ngram) term meaning:(from TFD)

  • tacenda, tacit - Tacenda are things not to be mentioned or made public—things better left unsaid; tacit means "unspoken, silent" or "implied, inferred."
  • you are supposed to use more contemporary expressions (as suggested in a comment) such as taboo subject or the common saying elephant in the room.

A few literary examples of sentences using tacenda.

  • Most people who attempted such a task would sink into being miserable blabbers of tacenda, mere sieves through which matters of secret importance would granulate into the hands of ardent journalists. But at once to stimulate and gratify curiosity, and to give a quiet circle the sense of being admitted to the inmost penetralia of affairs, is a triumph of conversational art. (Arthur Christopher Benson - From a College Window)

  • That he was a fanatical moralist was something not even the broadest-minded among them suspected; they only knew that he meddled with a subject that was hitherto considered tacenda, and with dire results. Nowadays the thesis of Spring's Awakening is not so novel. (James Huneker - Ivory Apes and Peacocks)

  • Yet Zola lives despite these predictions, as the above figures show, notwithstanding his loquacity in regard to themes that should be tacenda to every writer. But in this matter of forbidden subjects Zola is regarded by the present generation as a trifle old-fashioned. When alive he was grouped with Aretino and the Marquis de Sade, or with Restif de la Bretonne. (James Huneker - Ivory Apes and Peacocks)

Source: www.wordincontext.com


Well, let's use the example: Miserable blabbers of tacenda. This means that they are talking about things that is better left unsaid. Think of someone/something that sometimes says something which no one wants to talk about, or is better left unsaid, like something inappropriate. Tacenda in a sentence could be: People on the internet sometimes write things I consider as tacenda. There you go! I thought of someone that say things that aren't supposed to be said, or is better not to be said. Like that, I created a word in a sentence right away. Here are some other ones: My mother sometimes says things that my dad thinks is tacenda. Here's another one: When I'm called on, I sometimes end up blabbing random tacenda things like comments on the internet or other things. Remember, it's great to include examples in your sentences. I hope I helped!

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    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 0:02

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