We all have that one friend who hates the word “moist” (maybe you do too), but now we have an actual scientific study that tells us the reasons why.
Most of us have been there before. You’re sitting down to enjoy a heavenly slice of chocolate cake when someone describes it as “moist,” making you all but lose your appetite. The word sticks to you like a plague and makes your skin crawl.
In fact, anywhere from 10% to 20% of the English speaking population just can’t stand to hear this (rather innocuous) word, according to a study from Ohio’s Oberlin College. So what gives?
While the reasons for hating the word “moist” varied, most of the study subjects associated it with bodily functions and didn’t necessarily hate the actual sound of the word. Those who were most averse to the word “moist” generally didn’t like the words “damp,” “wet,” “phlegm,” or “puke” much either.
Oh, but you think you just hate the way the word sounds? Maybe not. The study says people who think they dislike the phonological qualities of the word “moist” might just be having a “visceral and immediate” reaction triggered by hearing it, whatever their reasons may be.
Unsurprisingly, hatred of the word “moist” is generally reserved for American English speakers.
To read the full (long) study, click here, but be warned – that dreaded word appears frequently throughout the paper.