(noun) Sexual relations between certain members of a family.

Example: Sexual relations between a father and daughter.

Audio Pronunciation: (in·cest)

Download Audio Pronunciation: incest.mp3

Usage Notes:

  • Called the incest taboo, a prohibition against incest exists in all societies but the particular relationships prohibited varies. The most common is a child and a parent or two siblings such as a brother and sister.
  • Type: adelphogamy
  • Also called inbreeding.
  • Incest used in a sentence: Rule against incest vary across societies and cultures.
  • Sexual relations between a mother and son are (adjective) incestuous.

Related Quotation:

  • “Violation of taboos is punishable by the group or even, according to certain belief systems, by a supernatural force. The incest taboo which prohibits sexual or martial relations between certain categories of kin, is an example of a nearly universal taboo” (Kendall 2006:56).

Additional Information:

Related Terms:



Kendall, Diane. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.


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How to Cite the Definition of Incest

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “incest.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved May 20, 2019 (

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

incest. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “incest.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed May 20, 2019.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“incest.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 20 May. 2019. <>.