Why the word 'moist' makes you wince

Publish Date
Thursday, 22 June 2017, 11:38AM
Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Moist. A word that makes people coil and shudder in response. But why? Moist by definition simply means slightly wet, and moist can be used to describe a myriad of things! 

So what's the big deal? Why do we find words like moist so cringe-worthy?

Well, science has an answer! Dr. Paul Thibodeau, a psychologist behind one study, said that approximately 18 percent of the 2,500 people surveyed strongly disliked the word moist. Young women with higher education were the most likely to wince at the word. That word being moist.

"People who were averse to 'moist' also responded similarly to words such as 'phlegm,' and 'vomit,' leading him to believe that the disgust is related in part to the association with bodily functions."

Dr. Thibodeau goes on to explain that "disgust is adaptive. If we didn't have an instinct to run away from vomit and diarrhea, disease would spread more easily." Since people associate the word moist with these things, we are disgusted due to instinctual adaptions.

Other hypothesis suggest that we recoil at the word moist because everyone else does. The more you know.