incest

noun

in·​cest ˈin-ˌsest How to pronounce incest (audio)
: sexual intercourse between persons so closely related that they are forbidden by law to marry
also : the statutory crime of such a relationship

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Under the administration of President Barack Obama, the government did not pay for abortions for teens in custody except in cases of rape, incest or a threat to the woman's life. Author: Ann E. Marimow, Anchorage Daily News, 19 Dec. 2017 Our great grandchildren will be arguing about the ethics of incest well after we're buried in the cold ground. Matt Miller, Esquire, 20 Sep. 2017 Game of Thrones: About That Hookup—Megan Garber argues that incest in the show is a metaphor for insularity, myopia, and people’s unwillingness to see beyond themselves. The Editors, The Atlantic, 1 Sep. 2017 Jones said the bill, which prohibited abortions after 20 weeks, mandated certain requirements be met to permit abortions after 20 weeks in the case of a medical emergency, rape or incest. Paul Gattis, AL.com, 2 Nov. 2017 Such role-playing can involve both age play, in which one partner pretends or both partners pretend to be an age other than their own, and incest fantasies. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, 1 Nov. 2017 No public subsidies can be used, except in cases that involve rape, incest, or preserving the life of the mother. Time, 6 Oct. 2017 And yet the House voted this week 237-189 for a bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks, except in cases of rape, incest, or a direct threat to the mother’s life. Hillary Kelly, Glamour, 5 Oct. 2017 The legislation would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks except for cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger. Alexandra Desanctis, National Review, 5 Oct. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'incest.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from Latin incestus sexual impurity, from incestus impure, from in- + castus pure — more at caste

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of incest was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near incest

Cite this Entry

“Incest.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/incest. Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

incest

noun
in·​cest ˈin-ˌsest How to pronounce incest (audio)
: sexual intercourse between persons so closely related that they are forbidden by law to marry

Medical Definition

incest

noun
in·​cest ˈin-ˌsest How to pronounce incest (audio)
: sexual intercourse between persons so closely related that they are forbidden by law to marry
also : the statutory crime of engaging in such sexual intercourse

Legal Definition

incest

noun
in·​cest ˈin-ˌsest How to pronounce incest (audio)
: sexual intercourse between persons so closely related that they are forbidden by law to marry
also : the crime of engaging in such sexual intercourse

History and Etymology for incest

Latin incestus sexual impurity, from incestus impure, from in- not + castus pure

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