Kids & Family

What is a taboo game?

Taboo is a classic guessing game that people usually play with the family or at a party. The goal of this game is to guess a word that someone is trying to explain without using the taboo words on a card. Now, we are going to share how to play the game, score points, and give clues.

Good tips for playing the Taboo game

To play this game, we need a few things, such as Taboo cards, a timer, a buzzer, at least 1 pencil, and a piece of paper to note down the scores. Then, you will need to divide players into 2 teams. The game needs at least two people in each team, but the more the merrier. Next, let’s take a look at some tricks and tips:

Picking team members

To be fair, do not team up by picking your favorite friends, you better match the new players with the old players. Also, you can split the teams up by their birthdate. In case there is a couple who wants to join the game with you, it is better to separate them so they don’t have advantages over other members.

Use card holder

For a better experience, we suggest getting a cardholder for the clue-giver to pick up the card faster. If you get it when you buy taboo cards, fill the cards every time before a player starts the game. The cardholder just makes the game smoother. However, there is no problem if you don’t have one, picking up a card from a pile works too.

How to play

  • Pick a card and try to describe the main word without mentioning taboo words. The clue-giver cannot look ahead of another card because that’s considered cheating.
  • All team members of the guessing team will have to guess as many words as they can while being on a time limit. In general, Taboo players take 2 minutes for each round, but you can change the duration rule if needed.
  • We recommend using a timer that makes a lot of noise when the time’s up to prevent cheating.
  • Your team will score a point when they guess the word right. But, if the word is too hard and they decide to skip it, the point goes to the other team.
  • Do not say the forbidden words appearing on the card, of course! People usually fail by accidentally using taboo words as those are the hardest to avoid. If you end up using one, then your team loses the point.
  • Send one member of the non-guessing team to watch the clue-giver, if the player uses the taboo word, press the buzzer and take off a point.
  • Separate the cards that players get right and the ones players skipped. The giving clue team gets points following cards they guess right. The opponent team gets points from cards that the clue-giver skipped and got buzzed on.

How to give clues?

The most important part of the Taboo game is giving clues. You want to give the best clue to your friends as close to the main word as possible. Here are a few tips to give clues:

  • Look at all the taboo words first and remember them, as in, print them in your memory! The more you focus on them, the less likely you are to use them. Just be careful to not waste too much time in doing so.
  • Since Taboo words are similar to the main word, try to use antonyms like if the guessing word is “Hot” you can say “It is not cold”. You can also use the synonyms that are not already on the card, like “sobbing” for the word “crying”.
  • Be careful not to make it sound like a thing on the card. For example, if the word is “horse” you can’t make the “hee-haw” sound that horses make. This is considered cheating too. Furthermore, abbreviations are prohibited as well.
  • Some words have more than just one meaning. Providing different definitions of the same word might lead your team to the right answer. For example, if the word is “Patient”, you can say “a person who doesn’t like waiting” or “what do you call a sick person who stays in the hospital”.

Can we play taboo online?

The answer is yes! You can still enjoy playing this game online with your friends or family. In case you have taboo cards with you then you can just do a video call and play the game. However, if you don’t have the cards, we recommend using a website such as that will create Taboo cards for you. Their interface is nice and convenient, as it also provides a scoresheet and a timer.

The Taboo game can give you, your friends, or your family great moments on weekends or holidays. It is also a game that language teachers can use to help students develop their communication skills.