Earlier last year we wrote an article on the 6 words women hate most. “Moist” was crowned king of disgusting, with follow up words being “squirt” and “panties”. Back in 2013 “moist” was also voted the most cringeworthy word in an unrelated study. Another study by PLOS one found that 10–20% of the population is averse to the word “moist.”
But why exactly is it so universally hated? According to the study by Paul H. Thibodeau entitled “A Moist Crevice for Word Aversion: In Semantics Not Sounds” he found that it isn’t so much the sound of the word itself but “data from the current studies point to semantic features of the word–namely, associations with disgusting bodily functions–as a more prominent source of peoples’ unpleasant experience.”
The study goes on to state “Moist,” for averse participants, was notable for its valence and personal use, rather than imagery or arousal–a finding that was confirmed by an experiment designed to induce an aversion to the word.
Analyses of individual difference measures suggest that word aversion is more prevalent among younger, more educated, and more neurotic people.
“Analyses of individual difference measures suggest that word aversion is more prevalent among younger, more educated, and more neurotic people, and is more commonly reported by females than males.”
So really it isn’t moist’s fault. It young educated neurotic women who have some gross word associations going on. Could happen to any poor innocent word.