April 26, 2003


While writing an essay on Senator Rick Santorum’s recent comments on the legal status of homosexuality and other sexual practices (see “Rick’s Fix”), I became aware of the fact that there is no specific name for one who engages in incest. One who engages in bigamy is a bigamist; one guilty of adultery is an adulterer; etc. But what is one who engages in incest? The lack of such a word is a sure sign that such people are devoid of political clout, of course. Perhaps such a person could be called an “incester” or “incestor,” though one might argue that these words sound too much like “ancestor.” Perhaps “incestuist,” derived from “incestuous,” would be a better choice. Feel free to help me popularize one of these neologisms, but don’t expect it to catch on any time soon.

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