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Original Rules for Taboo

If you have lost the original insert that came with your purchase of Taboo by Hasbro, we have a scanned copy for you here.

Also, if you enjoy playing Taboo and are looking for the best iPhone party game – try Other Words. Other Words is an app like Taboo.

A scanned copy of the original rules that came with the game Taboo by Hasbro. Front side. A scanned copy of the original rules that came with the game Taboo by Hasbro. Back side.


Split into two even teams. Sit like this (image of 3 versus 3, sitting in a circle 1-2-1-2-1-2) so you can keep an eye on each other.

Sort your cards and turn on the buzzer.


Get your team to say the Guess word at the top of the card. But don't use any of the TABOO words in your description... that'll get you buzzed by the other team!

Guess word
The word you want your team to say. (In the image the guess word is Spatula.)

5 Taboo words
The words you can't say. (In the image the 5 taboo words are: Cook, Kitchen, Flip, Food, Utensil.)

Example: "What you use to turn over an egg..."


One team guesses while the other team turns the timer and holds the buzzer.

On your team's turn to guess:

  1. Choose one player on your team to be the describer. Give them the stack of cards.
  2. The other team chooses a monitor to hold the buzzer and start the timer. The monitor peers over the describer's shoulder to see the card — if the describer uses any TABOO words, the monitor buzzes 'em!
  3. When the timer starts, your team's describer immediately:
    • flips the top card.
    • describes the top word on the side you've chosen to play without saying any of the TABOO words!
    • puts any cards that get buzzed to one side.
    • keeps flipping cards and describing new words for your team to guess.
  4. When the timer runs out, your team's turn is over. If you are in the middle of a card, put it at the bottom of the deck. Keep each card you guessed successfully. Give each card that you got buzzed on or skipped to the other team.
  5. Then it's the other team's turn. Note: Choose a new describer for your team every round.


Buzz when the describer breaks any of these rules!


When all players have taken the same number of turns as the describer, the team with the most cards wins all the glory!