A taboo is a strong socialprohibition (or ban) relating to any area of human activity or social custom that is sacred and forbidden based on moral judgment and religious beliefs. Breaking the taboo is usually considered objectionable or abhorrent by society. The term comes from the Tongan word tabu, meaning set apart or forbidden, and appears in many Polynesian cultures. In those cultures, a tabu (or tapu or kapu) often has specific religious associations. American author Herman Melville, in his first novel "Typee" describes both the origin and use of the word in Polynesian culture. "The word itself (taboo) is used in more than one signification. It is sometimes used by a parent to his child, when in the exercise of parental authority he forbids it to perform a particular action. Anything opposed to the ordinary customs of the islands, although not expressly prohibited is said to be "taboo"." When an activity or custom is taboo, it is forbidden and interdictions are implemented concerning it, such as the ground set apart as a sanctuary for criminals. Some taboo activities or customs are prohibited under law and transgressions may lead to severe penalties. Other taboos result in embarrassment, shame, and rudeness. Although critics and/or dissenters may oppose taboos, they are put into place to avoid disrespect to any given authority, be it legal, moral and/or religious.