There's a scientific reason why we all cringe at the word 'moist'

Why are we always hating on the word 'moist'?

There are thousands of people online who are vocal in their dislike. Jimmy Fallon for one thinks its the "worst word ever", while this was How I Met Your Mother's take on it:


But it's not moist's fault that it makes you think about bodily functions. A new study from Oberlin College and Trinity University in the US on word aversion has found that it's a question of what our brains associate it with.

Psychologist Paul Thibodeau and his colleagues gave participants a set of words and asked them to rate how uncomfortable the words made them feel.

Fairly obviously words with sexual overtones provoked the strongest negative feelings when 'moist' followed afterwards.

Survey respondents disliked 'moist' more when it followed an unrelated word with pleasant connotations such as 'paradise'. If people heard a racial slur before 'moist' it didn't seem so bad in comparison.

The people who hated poor old 'moist' the most also disliked related words like 'wet' and 'sticky' but didn't have a problem with rhyming words such as 'foist', suggesting that it really is the meaning rather than the sound people are averse to.

So there we have it: science says it's you.

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