Do you, like me, know someone with a strange aversion to the word “moist”? If so, you should read this edition of the Now I Know newsletter, researched and written by Dan Lewis.I have a friend who reacts with disgust at the mention of the word “moist.” The common idea that it had something to do with the mouth-feel of the word didn’t necessarily make sense, because she hates it when others say it, too. Which is handy for my daughter, who uses it as a form of defense for whenever that particular friend takes a conversation too far – it stops her in her tracks. She also doesn’t always react to it, though. It depends on context.
This is why the idea discussed in the article that it has to do with an association with bodily functions makes sense. After all, our most egregious curse words come from bodily functions or the body parts associated with them.
I was also interested to see that the f-word is quantifiably less offensive these days (even less so than the m-word). Not surprised, since I don’t notice the same response around its use as I saw years ago, but definitely interested. I don’t know that it will go away for a long time – we’ve been using it for centuries already – but overt use seems to have really dampened its impact.
If you don’t subscribe to Now I Know, I do recommend it. It’s a wonderfully eclectic and amusing source of obscure information. It’s nice to have a regular email in my inbox that I’m actually happy to see.