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Science Of Why People Hate The Word 'Moist'

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Channel: Tech Insider
Categories: English / Literature   |   Society / Culture   |   Psychology   |   Social Science  
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Moist is one of the most disliked words in the world. People compare hearing the word moist to hearing nails on a chalkboard. What is it about this word that causes people to have such a strong reaction?

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Following is the transcript of the video:

Moist is one of few words in the English language…with the power to make your skin crawl.

And it makes sense — the word sounds…… Kind of disgusting.

But scientists have discovered that… the way it sounds isn’t the biggest problem.

Moist is part of a phenomenon known as word aversion. It refers to words with an inoffensive meaning.

Yet when you hear them — like crevice and phlegm — they have the unique power to disgust people...

But there’s one word we find most disgusting of all. MOIST.

In 2012, for example, Twitter users voted on the word that should be eliminated from the English language. Out of the more than a quarter million words in the English language, moist was the clear winner, or … loser in this case.

In another experiment that polled 400 people … 20% reported that moist gave them the same reaction as fingernails on a chalkboard.

However sound is just part of the problem. In fact, when those same people reported how they felt about similar sounding words like “hoist” and “foist” they didn't have the same negative reaction.

And even when the offending word was provided in context with food like a “moist cake” it still didn’t have the same gut-wrenching affect.

Turns out, the real reason we may hate moist SO much is because it conjures up thoughts of wet … bodily functions  ...wait what .. that’s just… ew, let’s just leave it at that.

Despite our disgust for the word … moist is somewhat of a celebrity.

We’ve been steadily Googling it more often over the years. And maybe moist’s bad rep is just a fad. Like fidget spinners or rainbow bagels.

So does moist make you cringe? Or are people overreacting? Let us know in the comments below.

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