The Meaning of Incel: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know what the term incel means? This guide will provide you with its definition, etymology, example sentences, and more!

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What Does the Term Incel Mean?

According to Merriam-Webster and Vox, an incel is a person, usually male, who identifies as “involuntarily celibate.” This is a man who wants to have sex and harbors extreme resentment and anger toward those who are sexually active.

Incels Play the Blame Game 

These men blame women for their lack of sexual activity and often believe in strong “punishments” for women. In extreme cases, these men believe women should be verbally harassed, sexually assaulted, raped, disfigured, and even murdered.

There are many different variations on the term incel, such as truecel, volcel, fakecel, gymcel, wristcel, wagecel, heighcel, and more. 

What Are Incel Slang Terms and What Do They Mean?

There are many different slang terms that are used within the incel community. Like any subculture, self-identifying incels use their own set of words and phrases. While many subcultures have idioms, from sports teams to actors and more, the terms incels use can be inherently misogynistic, rude, and violent. These words and phrases can be confusing at first glance, but this list of definitions from Tim Squirrell will clear things up. 


A chad is a person who is the opposite of an incel. A chad has loads of sexual success and is charismatic and handsome without even trying. The relationship between incels and chads is paradoxical, as incels seem to both hate and worship chads. They believe that even if a woman ends up with a “beta male,” in her heart she will still want a chad. 

Incels also believe that women will then go cheat on their beta husbands with a chad, which is often called “cucking.” Some racially insensitive variations include Chadlite, Chadrone, Chang, Chadpreet, and Chaddam.

Black Pill 

Inspired by the film The Matrix, someone who is “black pilled” believes there are no solutions to the systemic problem of women choosing a certain type of man. 

In The Matrix, the protagonist must choose between the red pill and the blue pill. The blue pill will keep him unaware of the real world, while the red pill will show him reality. The concept of the black pill is a riff on the red pill/blue pill dichotomy that takes a more nihilistic turn.

Incels believe that the world is against them and that women are programmed to prefer a certain type of man with the right facial features, bone structure, and body type. This is what can lead to acts of terror, as people who believe in the black pill are either resigned to their life or resentful toward the people they think are causing it. 


This term refers to the “phenomenon” of women having sex with men of a higher status. Incels and Men’s Rights Activists, or MRAs, believe that women always attempt to find men who have a higher status than them. 

80/20 Rule

This refers to the incels’ belief that the top 20% of men are being competed for by the top 80% of women. In addition, incels believe the bottom 20% of men are competing for the bottom 80% of women. 


The term Stacy refers to a woman who has sex with many men who are usually chads. She is often described as a bimb who is beautiful, promiscuous, and unintelligent.


Cuck is used to describe a man whose partner—wife or girlfriend—is cheating on him by having sex with another man. There are often racially insensitive overtones at play here, as well as BDSM connotations. 


Volcel is short for voluntary celibate. This refers to a man who could have sex but chooses not to. This term is related to fakecel, or fake incel.


AWALT stands for All Women Are Like That, used for generalizing about women. This term also inspired the variation EWALT, which stands for Enough Women Are Like That.


This acronym stands for Men Going Their Own Way, which refers to a group of men who want nothing to do with women. All they do is complain about women and perpetuate visceral hate for women.

Beta, Betabuxx

A beta is any man who is not an “alpha male.” These men are consideredshy and non-charismatic. The term betabuxx is used to describe a beta man who gets a female partner. 

What Is the Origin of the Term Incel?

The term incel was first used in 1999. It was first coined by a Canadian feminist but co-opted by the incel community. This subculture grew on the internet in online forums such as 4Chan and Reddit. 

The type of misogyny in incel communities has led to numerous mass attacks, including the Isla Vista, California mass shooting by Elliot Rodger, as well as the 2018 Toronto, Canada van attack. Both of the men who performed these attacks identified as incels and harbored extreme hate for women. Some incels have created manifestos detailing what they plan to do to women. 

After Rodger’s attack, other incels began to be inspired by him, calling him  “Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger” and planning an “Incel Rebellion” to overthrow “Chads and Stacys.” This gunman who went on a shooting spree, as well as the man driving the van in Toronto, was celebrated on incel message boards. Later, in 2021, Jake Davison, a self-proclaimed incel killed five people in Plymouth, Michigan.


Generally speaking, the term incel means involuntary celibate. This refers to an online community made up of men who believe that women only want to have sex with certain types of men. The incel ideology can be found all over the internet, from YouTube videos to Facebook posts. This type of thinking on social media can lead to extreme acts of terrorism stemming from a sense of entitlement and hatred of women. 


  1. Incel Definition & Meaning | Merriam-Webster 
  2. Who are the ‘incels’? The involuntary celibates who want women punished | GQ 
  3. Our incel problem | Vox 
  4. A definitive guide to Incels part two: the AZ incel dictionary | Tim Squirrell, PhD