Unspeakable Still

by J. Douglas Johnson

A year ago, I noted in these pages that the word “homosexual” was coined by psychiatrists in 1892. Perhaps the doctors combined two unrelated Greek and Latin words to make the term sound more science-y, or maybe to give the false impression that they hadn’t just made it up.

Nonetheless, before the twentieth century, newspaper accounts, government documents, Black’s Law Dictionary, etc. would refer instead to some variation of “unspeakable acts.”

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