Why is it "Rapist" and not "Raper"

The crude and despicable expression “rape artist” was common in the 1950s as I recall. Perhaps the combination of the 2 words gave rise to term rapist.

The OED gives the first recorded use of “rapist” as 1883. I’m not sure, but I don’t think “rape artist” was used much earlier than 1920. It’s not in any of my dictionaries, which isn’t surprising since it’s so slangy and offensive. The earliest cites I know of for it are all from Fatty Arbuckle’s case, and it always appears in quotes, attributed to Fatty’s social circle, which makes it clear that it wasn’t expected to be taken as a usual term. More of a “Tsk-tsk, those cocaine-addled Hollywoodland riff-raff” kind of thing.

I’ve never understood why a person who escapes from prison is an “escapee”, not an “escaper.” The -ee suffix is normally used for the passive half of some duo: payor/payee, mortgator/mortgatee, licensor/licensee.

It’s also in the Rolling Stones’ “Midnight Rambler.” (“I’m called the hit-and-run raper in anger.”)

The same oddity holds for people who attend a convention being referred to as attendees.

Richmond, Indiana.

That’s exactly what I came in here to ask about.

Also “patentee.” Shouldn’t be person applying for the patent be the “patenter”?

That one makes sense, because the applicant is granted the patent by the Patent Office. He doesn’t issue the patent himself.

“To Gang” = to go.

But then it should be correct to say that the P.T.O. patented an invention. Instead we say that the inventor patented an invention. Whoever does the patenting should, logically, be the “patenter.”

I had assumed the -ee form of nouns (escapee, attendee) was drawn from the past tense of French verbs (escape being the reflexive s’échapper in the infinitive), but if I’m wrong I’m sure language maven Dopers will be along to correct that tout de suite.

Why these past tense verb forms would then be default feminine (second e) is beyond me.

Does it involve a huge fog over Rome?

Actually, Tom Raper owns a Chevy dealership in or about Charleston. It doesn’t seem to feature in the web site. I imagine RVs are a higher-margin item than GM passenger cars, so maybe that makes sense.
Tom Raper also sponsors a racing team.

If I had a dollar for every Tom Raper commercial I watched as a kid (“It’s absolutely worth the drive to Richmond!”)…

Maybe at one time the “escaper” was considered to be the person who enabled the ‘escapee’ to do so.

The ‘patentee’ applies for a patent and is granted one by the patenting authority. S/he doesn’t make one. The ‘ee’ ending in this context therefore kind of makes sense.

I’ve often wondered why the term “serial killer” was in common use a good twenty years before “serial rapist.”

The -ee suffix isn’t always part of an -ee/-or dichotomy, though.

Sometimes it makes a noun out of a conditional signifier.

We have “escapee,” “refugee,” “divorcee,” “enshrinee,” “absentee,” “commitee,” (originally applied to one person) “returnee,” “abscondee,” “transplantee,” “devotee,” “internee,” etc.

In all of these examples, the -ee suffix makes a word that means “a person who is” whatever condition the modified word denotes.

Something else to consider: Raper is a surname. For the purposes of describing someone who rapes, would it not be better to use a term that’s not a surname?

I’ve always understood “escaper” to refer to someone who is attempting to escape, and “escapee” as someone who has been sucessful in the attempt.

Interesting. Add “balloonist” to the list.

Actually, most of these examples do express the passive end of a relationship. A refugee is given refuge, ane enshrinee is enshrined, a commitee, either singular or plural, is committed (by some larger body) to some task.
Of course, that doesn’t mean they all do. This is English, you know.
“Divorceé” was the original spelling, coming from French. I wonder if thta has anything to do with the difference in meaning form other -ee ending words.