X rape

The current discussion of legitimate rape led me to think about expressions of the form X rape in general. What we have here isn’t a snowclonelet, but a varied set of N-headed composites, some with N as first element, some with Adj.

Start with the N cases: N + N compounds. At least two semantic relations between rape and this N:

agent of the rape, ‘rape by N’: gang rape, stranger rape, acquaintance rape

location or setting of the rape, ‘rape in/during N’: prison rape, war rape, date rape

Then the Adj cases: Adj + N phrases with a “pseudo-adjective”, an Adj that’s understood via a N that it evokes. Some of these cases are similar to the location/setting compounds: marital rape ‘rape (with)in a marriage’, incestual rape ‘rape during or as part of incest’. At least one is parallel to the agent case for compounds: spousal rape ‘rape by a spouse’. The rest are pretty much sui generis: forcible rape ‘rape involving force’; statutory rape ‘rape as defined by statute but distinct from forcible rape’; and finally legitimate rape ‘forcible rape, as defined by law’.


2 Responses to “X rape”

  1. buckbear Says:

    There’s also Whoopi Goldberg’s very unfortunate emphatic reduplication ‘rape rape’, which can be used to contrast it with the others (though unfairly so).

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: