People's aversion to the word moist has attracted our attention for a while now (most recently in this post — see also the links in this one). Mark Peters recently wrote about the moist phenomenon for Good, quoting Language Log discussion as well as a Word Routes column I wrote for the Visual Thesaurus. And now Mark's Good column just got noticed by the folks at "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me!" on NPR — Mark and I were quoted in their "limericks" segment (skip to about 3:00 in):
And just so it's clear that I'm not pinning moist aversion entirely on the "oi" diphthong, here is what I originally wrote:
Why does moist merit a Facebook group of haters, while hoist and joist go unnnoticed? It's more than just the sound of the word: the disliked words tend to have some basic level of ickiness… slimy stuff, bodily discharge, or other things that people would prefer not to think about. Icky words include nostril, crud, pus, and pimple. Ointment and goiter share the "oi" sound with moist: there must be something about that diphthong that gets under people's skin.
(Read the rest here.)