Incel Meaning: What Does the Slang Term “Incel” Mean?

The slang term “incel” is only used by a particular culture on the internet and is generally not heard of often now due to a negative history. However, odds are you have heard or seen this term being used recently and it made you wonder about it. Fortunately, you are in a good place to find out what you need to know to lessen your confusion.

Here you will find the meaning of the term and the origin of it as well. You will also find some alternate meanings if there are any and some example conversations so you can see how the term is properly used in conversations. Lastly, you will discover some other words or phrases that can be used as a synonym for this term.

Incel Meaning

What Does Incel Mean?

The term incel is a blend of the words “involuntary celibate.” It describes individuals, typically men, who find themselves unable to enter into sexual relationships despite their wishes. Incels often express feelings of frustration and isolation because of their experiences, and in some extreme cases, this frustration can manifest in resentment or hostility towards those who are sexually active.

  • Involuntary: Not by choice; these individuals are not celibate by their own decision.
  • Celibate: Absence of sexual activity.

What Does Incel Mean?Pin

Origin of Incel

This slang term is a portmanteau of the two words “involuntary” and “celibate” where “involuntary” means something someone does despite wanting to do otherwise and “celibate” refers to “not engaging in sexual intercourse.” The term first appeared in 1993 online when a Canadian female student developed a website to talk about her lack of sexual activity. Popularity for her site increased and more people like her joined in her discussion relating similar experiences.

It became an all-inclusive site for any race, sex, gender, etc. until several murders had been committed by people who identified themselves as being a part of this sub-culture. Since then the term has gained negative undertones, often being identified by many people and organizations as a hate group filled with white supremacists males and filled with the ideology of racism, misogyny, and violence. This ideology is a far cry from what the culture was supposed to represent when it first started.

Commonly Confused Terms with Incel

When discussing the term “incel,” we often come across several related terms that are distinct in meaning but occasionally confused. Understanding these variations is crucial for a nuanced conversation.

Incel vs. Chad

  • Incel: Refers to an individual, often male, who views themselves as unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desire, leading to a sense of frustration and resentment.
  • Chad: A term used within incel communities to characterize an archetypal alpha male who is attractive, sexually successful, and often perceived as the opposite of an incel.

Incel vs. Simp

  • Incel: Holds a belief that they are entitled to sex and relationships but are unjustly deprived of them.
  • Simp: Usually a derogatory term implying a male who goes to excessive lengths to gain favor with someone they are attracted to, often without reciprocation, and not necessarily celibate.

Incel vs. Femsel

  • Incel: Typically male-associated but not exclusive, they assert their celibacy is involuntary.
  • Femsel: A lesser-known term that refers to a female who identifies with being involuntarily celibate, sharing similar frustrations as incels.

Incel vs. Sigma

  • Incel: Their identity revolves around an inability to attract a partner and often includes participation in an online subculture.
  • Sigma: Often referred to as a lone-wolf archetype, a sigma male is perceived as outside the traditional male hierarchy and does not seek approval from a group, unlike an incel’s typical portrayal.

Incel Examples

In this section, we provide specific examples of how the term “incel” is used in various contexts. From casual conversations to online interactions, these examples reflect the application of the word in different settings.

Examples of Incel in Conversations

Conversation 1: In a Sociology Class

  • Professor: “Today we’re discussing various internet subcultures. Can anyone tell me about the incel community?”
  • Mia: “I’ve read about them. Incel is a term for people who self-identify as being involuntarily celibate. Unfortunately, some online incel forums have become places for spreading misogynistic views and justifying entitlement to relationships.”
  • Professor: “Correct, Mia. It’s a complex topic that intersects with discussions on gender, society, and the impact of online echo chambers.”

Conversation 2: Discussing News with a Friend

  • Chris: “There’s been another article about the dangers of the incel movement.”
  • Ava: “I know, it’s frightening how some individuals who identify as incels have committed violent acts. It’s a reminder of how online radicalization can lead to real-world consequences.”
  • Chris: “Absolutely. It’s important for us to understand how these communities can influence behavior and find ways to counteract that negativity.”

Examples of Incel in Texting

Text from a Concerned Friend:

  • Mike: “Hey, I saw your post about feeling like an incel. Just wanted to check in and see if you’re okay. Remember, it’s okay to seek help if you’re feeling down.”

Text about a News Article:

  • Jenna: “Did you read that article about the incel community’s influence on certain online platforms?”
  • Luis: “Yeah, it’s pretty alarming how some groups can foster such negativity.”

Examples of Incel in Social Post

Facebook Status Update:

  • “Reading about the incel phenomenon is so eye-opening. It’s a stark reminder that we need to address issues of loneliness and isolation in healthier ways. #MentalHealthAwareness”


  • “The conversation around the incel subculture often overlooks the importance of empathy and support. No one should feel that hate is the only answer to their problems. #CompassionOverHate”

Instagram Post Caption:

  • “Attended a great talk on the psychology behind the incel movement. Understanding the root causes of such ideologies is key to creating positive change.”

Reddit Comment:

  • “It’s important to differentiate between those who identify as incels as a way to express their struggles and those who use the label to justify harmful actions. Context matters.”

Other Examples of Incel

  • A documentary exploring the struggles of modern-day involuntary celibates refers to its subjects with the term “incel.”
  • An academic journal publishes a research paper analyzing the behavioral patterns of self-identified incels.

Usage of Incel in Different Contexts

We’ve noticed that the term “incel” has been used in a variety of ways, often depending on the context. Initially, incel stood for “involuntary celibate,” and in a non-hostile sense, it pertained to individuals who, despite desiring to, were not engaged in romantic or sexual relationships.

Online Forums and Communities:

In online spaces, particularly forums and communities, “incel” refers to a group largely composed of men who express feelings of entitlement to sex and frustration towards those who are sexually active. These discussions can sometimes extend into resentment or worse.

  • General Discourse:
    • Casual conversations usually see the term “incel” describing someone experiencing unwanted celibacy.
    • The media may use the term when discussing misogyny and gender-based discussions, particularly when referring to extreme cases where individuals identify with the incel subculture.

Social Media:

Across platforms like Twitter and Reddit, “incel” can be seen in various lights – from an identification used by some groups to a pejorative deployed by others to criticize certain behaviors or attitudes towards relationships.

Different Meanings:

Perception Description
Neutral Involuntary celibates seeking community support.
Negative Individuals harboring misogynistic views.

Academic Analysis:
Researchers and scholars may deconstruct the term’s usage to examine the social and psychological factors behind the phenomenon of involuntary celibacy, thereby applying the term in a clinical or socio-analytical context.

Additional Information Regarding Incel Terminology

Related Terms to Incel

As we dive into the world of incels, it’s essential to understand some related terms often used within this subculture. To provide a brief context, an “incel” is a person, usually a man, who considers themselves involuntarily celibate. They often express extreme resentment and hostility towards those who are sexually active.

  • MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way): This movement involves men who choose to avoid relationships and sometimes even social interactions with women. They do this in an attempt to maintain their independence and protect themselves against what they perceive as the harmful effects of modern feminism or female behavior.
  • PUA (Pick-Up Artist): A Pick-Up Artist is someone who teaches or practices strategies and techniques to meet, attract, and engage in relationships with others, particularly women. They often use manipulative tactics, and their methods are often criticized for promoting harmful gender stereotypes.
  • Red Pill/Blue Pill: These terms come from the film “The Matrix” and have been adopted by various online communities, including incels. The “Red Pill” represents the belief that society is filled with uncomfortable truths and harsh realities about gender dynamics. In contrast, the “Blue Pill” signifies ignorance and denial of these perceived truths. Incels often claim to have “taken the red pill,” claiming to see the reality of their situation.
  • Black Pill: A term closely associated with incels, the “Black Pill” is a pessimistic and fatalistic outlook on life. It often involves the belief that one’s inability to attract romantic and sexual partners is due to factors beyond their control, such as genetics or societal norms. The idea of the “Black Pill” encourages incels to give up hope and accept their fate as involuntarily celibate.

Incel Synonyms

Firstly, let’s recall that “incel” is short for “involuntary celibate” and refers to someone, usually a man, who is unable to find a sexual partner despite desiring one. This term has become associated with an internet subculture of men who express frustration and resentment towards those who are sexually active.

One of the synonyms for incel is AFC. It stands for “average frustrated chump” and describes someone who struggles with attracting romantic or sexual partners. Another synonym is incelibate, which is a combination of “involuntary” and “celibate.” This term carries a similar meaning to “incel” and can be used interchangeably in most instances.

We can also consider love-shy as a synonym for incel. This term emphasizes the difficulty such individuals have in initiating romantic or sexual relationships due to shyness or social anxiety. Blue-baller is another term that can be used, though it may carry slightly more provocative connotations.

In some cases, the term permavirgin is used to describe an incel. This emphasizes the notion of a person remaining a virgin indefinitely due to their inability to find a sexual partner.

Here is a brief list of incel synonyms for quick reference:

  • AFC
  • incelibate
  • love-shy
  • blue-baller
  • permavirgin

Antonyms to Incel

  • Chads: We often hear incels refer to “Chads” as men who are seen at the top of the social and sexual hierarchy. These are typically attractive, confident, and sexually successful men.
  • Stacys: The female counterparts to Chads are called “Stacys.” They are the women who are deemed very attractive and are often the object of a Chad’s affection, embodying the female ideal according to this subgroup’s perspective.
  • Normies: A term referring to average people who don’t fit into the extremes of being neither a Chad nor a Stacy. Normies are often depicted as those who have regular social and sexual success without being at the top of the hierarchy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the term ‘incel’ mean in English?

Incel is a term that stands for “involuntary celibate.” It refers to a person who is unable to find a sexual partner despite their desire for one. The term is often used to describe a group of people on the internet who identify with this experience and discuss it in forums and online communities.

How is ‘incel’ related to other words like ‘simp’?

While both terms are used in online contexts, they have different meanings. ‘Incel’ refers to the aforementioned involuntarily celibate individuals, whereas ‘simp’ is used as a slang term for someone who is overly eager or submissive towards someone they are attracted to, often in an effort to gain their attention or affection.

Is there an opposite term for ‘incel’?

There isn’t a direct opposite term for ‘incel.’ However, people who actively engage in sexual relationships and do not face difficulties in finding partners can be referred to as “voluntarily celibate” if they choose to abstain from sex for personal reasons. It’s important to note that this term isn’t commonly used in the same way ‘incel’ is.

Are there any synonyms for ‘incel’?

Synonyms for ‘incel’ are not common, given that the term itself is relatively new and specific to its meaning. However, terms like ‘beta’ or ‘omega’ might be used by some incels themselves, as a self-description. These terms originate from internet lingo and can have various meanings.

Incel Meaning | Infographic