Tuesday, September 01, 2009

At the risk of offending....

Moist. Moist. Moist! Moist moist moist moist moistity moist!

Moist.

It seems that some people don't like the word "moist". From the linked article:

But on this side of the Atlantic, one curious word seems to be under attack.

Not that’s it’s offensive. But because it makes people — especially women — feel icky.

Entire websites now revolve around a hatred of "moist."

There are a dozen Facebook groups calling for an end of the word, with ‘I HATE the word MOIST!" boasting 822 decidedly dry members.

Even television has acknowledged the moist backlash, with a character on the sitcom How I Met Your Mother venting the word rubs her the wrong way.

University of Pennsylvania linguist Mark Liberman has traced the evolving resentment over the adjective. He’s found humans carry around a propensity for "word aversion." Among those that give us the creeps, are “hardscrabble,” “pugilist,” “squall” and “giggle.”

Liberman tells Sun Media the aversion often seems purely phonetic, though other words, like “baffle,” evoke an unpleasant sensation.

Many even harbour nasty feelings toward “creamy,” “navel” and even “panties,” which may contain sexual aspects, he notes.

However, none compare to the flood of disgust for “moist.”

“(It) seems to be the word with the largest number of haters, apparently because it hits so many phonetic and semantic buttons at once,” he explains.


This strikes me as a bit odd. Not the notion of hating particular words, mind you -- I still shudder when I recall the Great "Copacetic" Craze of the late 90s, when everybody was using the word "copacetic", a word for "excellent" which to my ears sounds more like a word for "carrying a strange viral rash that is contagious and purple" -- but really, what on Earth is wrong with moist? Is the entire word to be crushed under the unpleasant connotations that arise from, well, certain people feeling moist in areas they wouldn't want to feel moist? But that's just context, isn't it? I mean, what about a chocolate cake? Are we to avoid referring to a moist cake? I think a moist cake is pretty desirable, myself.

For that matter, what's wrong with creamy? Sure, there are some icky things that can be described as creamy, but some of my favorite substances in the world are creamy. Cool-whip, for one.

In fact, when it comes to pie, I like things creamy. And moist.

I find myself baffled that some people's panties get twisted over their distaste for descriptors like moist and creamy. But who knows; this very blog post could just be an example of me overexamining my own navel.

(Original link via Lynn.)

7 comments:

Roger Owen Green said...

I don't find it offensive, but the 1st thought when I hear the word 'moist' is sexual. Which must say sometyhing about me.

Thee Earl of Obvious said...

Yeah, you got that right.

SK Waller said...

Americans just need to grow the heck up. Maybe we need to get over the 14 year-old giggle factor we get from certain words and concentrate on acquiring a real vocabulary.

Sheesh.

(Word verification word for this comment: deedles. Now there's a "word" with potential!)

Lynn said...

I've always liked the word "copacetic". [she says a bit sheepishly]

Thee Earl of Obvious said...

Ah, we have stumbled onto the infestation of small pests that is bringing down one of our most hard-fought freedom's: freedom of speech.

The offensive against speech starts out as a harmless feign of embarrassment, a giggle, then the swarm grows to an aversion. Pretty soon it is practically illegal to say these words or phrases. They become "dangerous" words.

Of course like any weapon there are certain groups that greatly benefit from possessing it.

Imagine if redneck became the "r" word. Oh, the power it would supply to purport a narrow agenda.

Kill speech, kill thoughts.

Mimi said...

I have no issues at all with the word, but I have definitely heard vents about how gross the word is.

I'm always puzzled.

blue girl said...

Like Mimi, I've heard people venting about their hatred of moist and I've never gotten it either.

And....*giggle* gives people the creeps?

What?! lol