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Please do not say the word “moist”

Screenshot: YouTube

It is a universally held truth that nobody likes the word “moist”—some 18 percent of American English speakers claim to “hate” it—but why? What is it about the word that inspires such revulsion? A new video from Mashable aims to get at the root of the problem, spelunking through the vaguely damp semiotics of moistness in American culture.

Really, anti-moist sentiment can be traced back to three possible sources: either the word’s pronunciation (the way it sounds), its connotations (with bodily fluids and secretions), or its reputation (as a universally reviled word). The video ends up settling on a combination of the last two, thanks in part to the below video, which still managed to creep people out even though it included handsome celebrities like Matt LeBlanc and Scott Foley saying the word:

As for the claim that it’s the word’s very sound that offends people, Mashable thinks otherwise, citing rhyming words like “hoist” and “foist” as inoffensive. And while that’s true, are they daring to counteract the trenchant social commentary of comedian Dane Cook?

The debate will continue.


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