Do you have one of those friends who has words they can’t stand to hear? Or maybe you are one who shudders at hearing words like “moist”? This interesting information came to our attention by SF Gate in their article, “Here’s why you hate the word ‘moist’.

So is it the connotation of the word or the sound? Or both? A recent psychological survey conducted by Paul Thibodeau, a psychology professor at Ohio’s Oberlin College, concludes that 10-20 percent of people are “averse” to the word “moist.”

This isn’t the first study on the subject, just the most recent. It was published recently in the academic journal PLOS One.

The results of Thibodeau’s work suggest that the aversion is actually derived from an inherent linking of the word to bodily functions (conscious or unconscious).

The study found that those who hate the word tended to associate it more with words that were semantically related to “moist” (like “wet” and “damp”) and words that reference bodily functions (like “phlegm” and “puke”).

Gross or not, there you have it. Know you are not alone in avoiding particular terms with semantic meanings.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.