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Does the word 'moist' make you cringe? Here's why.

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Moist car hood photographed by Sean Egiziano.
Sean Egiziano via Flickr
Moist car hood photographed by Sean Egiziano.

Why do some words repel and disgust us? A recent study highlighted word aversion, specifically "moist" and took a look at why it elicits such a visceral reaction.

It has been described as the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard.

Among the most averse, it elicits reactions of "visceral disgust" and outcries of, "Eww!" and "Yuck!"

People Magazine 2013 sexiest men say 'moist'

Not even People Magazine's sexiest men of 2013 could make the word sexy. But what is it about the five letter word that literally sets people on edge? 

Is it the sound of it? Or the connotation?

Paul Thibodeau led the study A Moist Crevice for Word Aversion: In Semantics Not Sounds, to get to the bottom of just that. Two-thousand five hundred unique subjects participated in the study, which took place over four years, to lead to some enlightening conclusions.

Professor Thibodeau joined the show to discuss his findings and shed some light on why "moist" has such a bad rep.

Interview Highlights:

How did 'moist' earn the status of nails on a chalkboard?

Some hypotheses on why the words were aversive:
Another possibility the study looked into, which actually helped them reach the study's conclusion:
Who is most likely to deal with some kind of word aversion?
To hear the full interview, click the blue play button above.
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