Why 18 percent of English speakers hate the word “moist”

I have a friend who gets super grossed out when she hears the word “moist” — she’ll cringe and tell you to stop saying it.

It turns out that 18% of English speakers share this reaction. We know that because some Oberlin psychologists did a study on it.

Apparently who are averse to the word often assume that their aversion stems from the way the word sounds — its phonological properties. But the research showed that the aversion is most strongly caused by the the words semantic properties: most especially, its association with disgusting bodily functions.

Interestingly, aversion to “moist” is more prevalent among younger people, more highly educated people, and females.


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