It's really hard to explain it, I remember someone using the word and then telling me what it meant about 2 years ago. I think the context that they used it in was in their relationship and their partner didn't want to be constantly asking for them to change, but they had the one thing that they didn't want him to do and it was to be friends with this other girl. I think they used the word like this: 'It was her [...], she didn't want me to be friends with blah blah'. The only way I can really think to explain the word is that I think it is sort of similar to 'one-off' but more specifically being about a specific one off that can't happen, almost like a request. The one thing that you don't want to happen or someone to do. Sorry, this explanation has been really bad. Thanks for your time.

  • Probably a duplicate of Is there a word that conveys an extreme distaste to the point nearing phobia?; the word may well be anathema. Apr 3, 2018 at 22:31
  • One similar thing is a dealbreaker. However, while a dealbreaker can be something you definitely don't want someone else to do, it can also be the opposite, namely something you insist that the other person do. Apr 3, 2018 at 23:01
  • Some other possibilities: a bugbear or a bête noire. Apr 3, 2018 at 23:07
  • While it hardly seems appropriate in this exact context you might frequently hear the term "Sacred Cows" to put a subject or an option off limits for discussion of it's merits to change or handle. It might have some "cultural misappropriation" issues to it now... unwise to risk anything ethnic if outside the group. If looking for ways to improve traffic or clean up the streets, a consultant (especially a Western one) wouldn't bring up the merits of changing where and how cows could roam. ..
    – Tom22
    Apr 4, 2018 at 3:34

4 Answers 4


It's a dealbreaker:

A term popularized by Liz Lemon from 30 rock which is used to describe the event which led to a breakup with someone or something

A deal breaker is ‘the catch’ that a particular individual cannot overlook and ultimately outweighs any redeeming quality the individual may possess.

Urban Dictionary

You can see the term used this way in the following articles:


You could possibly be thinking of the word "verboten," but it doesn't quite fit into your example sentence. It basically means "forbidden."

Definition of verboten

Another option could be "taboo," which seems to have social or religious undertones.

Definition of taboo


I believe the term you're looking for is pet-peeve.

This is defined by Merriam-Webster for English language learners as:

something that annoys or bothers a person very much

Hope this is helpful!


off the table is a term that means , in my words, that the thing described "non-negotiable by choice and notice"

Note, it is not "a thing" (your title) but a state. "Which things are off the table?" would be an important thing to want to know when starting negotiations.

Two parties in a contractual dispute in normal business agreement with many contingencies and mutual responsibilities might need to be renegotiated and responsibilities reassigned. In an office space lease there might be issues with signage and parking spaces and lease expiration and share of common area maintenance and representations about noise or if a promise was made to re-landscape the exterior or who was responsible for air-conditioning.

If the contract was being renegotiated, the tenant might say "the building signage is 'off the table' " to mean "it's a complete waste of time to bring that up, we'll move before we give in on that" etc.

'dealbreaker' (another answer) might be the thing..

.. but "take it off the table" is the act , and 'off the table' is the state of that thing.

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