Voldemort placed the Taboo on his name during the Second Wizarding War, and I had always assumed that the Taboo was in place for the First War, hence the fear of his name, but the wiki claims:

Some have theorised that the practise of saying "You-Know-Who" instead of Voldemort's proper name might have began when he used a Taboo on his name during the First Wizarding War. This is unlikely, because Dumbledore encouraged people to use the proper name Voldemort so as to not fear the name. He would not have encouraged this if saying the Dark Lord's name would have endangered people. The Taboo's use during the Second Wizarding War seems to have been novel.

Do we have a definitive answer to this question, and if not, what is the evidence for each side?

  • 2
    the wiki... can't be trusted boy. Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 6:22
  • this is just a guess, but i like to think yes because none of the adults seem to like to say the name...maybe thats why?
    – ava
    Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 14:59

3 Answers 3


No definitive answer exists, but it seems fairly likely that it was not.

(Or if there is, I don’t know about it. I can’t find anything in Deathly Hallows, the supplementary books, J.K. Rowling interviews or what I have of Pottermore. Of course, it may be answered when Pottermore reaches Deathly Hallows.)

As well as Dumbledore encouraging everybody to use the name (as the HP Wiki suggests), I think the general surprise at its design suggests that this is a new development.

Two examples of people who would know about the Taboo from the First War, but showed no knowledge of it:

  • Harry and Hermione. When Ron first mentions the Taboo, Harry doesn’t understand the term:

    “…and how did you find out about the Taboo?” he asked Harry after explaining the many desperate attempts of Muggle-borns to evade the Ministry.

    “The what?”

    Hermione is sitting in the same tent, and doesn’t bother to interrupt or point out that it’s been used before.

  • Lupin. When Lupin arrives at Grimmauld Place and the trio explain how they were detected after fleeing the wedding, he’s very surprised:

    “How did they find you so quickly? It’s impossible to track anyone who Apparates, unless you grab hold of them as they disappear! […] I can’t see how they could have tracked you to Tottenham Court Road, that’s worrying, really worrying.”

    He was part of the original Order of the Phoenix, so surely would have encountered it had it been deployed.

When the Order of the Phoenix was re-formed, they must have reviewed the events of the First War. That’s how, for example, they knew to send envoys to the Giants, because they knew Voldemort had recruited them before, and would try to do the same again.

But the Taboo, which is a lethal mistake that can be avoided easily, doesn’t get a single mention in the three years since Voldemort’s rebirth. That’s a very dangerous omission.

So I’m fairly confident that the Taboo is a new development for the Second War, and hadn’t been used before.

  • Sounds likely. The Taboo wouldn't be very useful before almost everyone got to fear saying the name out loud, which probably wouldn't be so during a war, especially if Voldemort was trying to build a name for himself. My understanding was that the practice of not saying the name started after the first war, looking back at the terror.
    – Luaan
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 13:24

The Taboo was placed after Voldemort took control of the Ministry of Magic. Since he didn't do this during the First Wizarding War, it is presumed that he couldn't. Placing a Taboo must be some function of the Ministry of Magic which is not easily duplicated by oneself.

  • That's a very interesting point. I wonder if the ministry perhaps used Taboo to control the population, heh? How happy would the war on whatever guys be if they had a feature like this? :P
    – Luaan
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 13:25

The Taboo was not in place during the first war as people regularly would say his name out loud primarily just the order of the phoenix members. And after the 4th book people were still using Voldemorts name out loud with no recourse until the fall of the ministry. That is when the Taboo started somewhere in the time Harry was on the run because if they knew the name was taboo from the first war they wouldn't have had so many death eaters surprising them over and over. It would have been common knowledge of the Taboo had it existed earlier.

  • 1
    This doesn't prove it wasn't in place during First War. Merely not in place well AFTER First War. Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 20:19
  • since there was 0 mention about it and it Surprised people in the 2nd war we can assume it did not exist in the first war.
    – Himarm
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 20:27

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