What should be done about the word "moist"?

Discussion of natural languages, or language in general.
User avatar
Xephyr
Avisaru
Avisaru
Posts: 821
Joined: Sat May 03, 2003 3:04 pm

What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by Xephyr »

As you may be aware, there is a certain word (which I am of course far above stooping to utter here) which is well known to be the most phonaesthetically unappealing word in the English language. This has been much commented on, and you might be tempted to say that, as with all unpopular turns of phrase, it will gradually pass into disuse and enter the annals of other such obsolete terms as "zounds" and "copacetic". To you I say: I pity you, to be so on the wrong side of history. We, on the other hand, as progressive and socially responsible citizens, recognize this for what it is: no mere triviality like the rules of checkers or of the sport of cruising, this is an urgent matter of pressing and public importance about which Something Must Be Done. What shall you say to your children and grandchildren when, many years hence, sitting upon your knee in the perfectly just end-of-history society that Our Generation shall bequeath them, they look up and ask: Grandfather, what did you do during the war? Were you part of the glorious wave of change, or did you sit idly by tolerating injustice, raising no arms against it?

This is a trial of moral progress greater perhaps than any history has ever known. It is us, our generation, who have been tasked with this mighty responsibility. So let me be the first-- of many, no doubt!-- to say that I will be silent no more! Evil must never be tolerated-- let us be rid of this unspeakable word! Let all the dictionaries that list it be tossed into the rivers and let all who speak it be thrown to the dogs! Let its memory be blasted from all the histories, that our descendants may be blessed with never knowing its damnable face ever existed at all! Viva la revolucion!
"It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be said, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is.' Rather, the Kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it."
The Gospel of Thomas

User avatar
ObsequiousNewt
Avisaru
Avisaru
Posts: 434
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:05 pm
Location: /ˈaɪ̯əwʌ/

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by ObsequiousNewt »

The Long Arc of Linguistic Justice will guide us toward salvation.


Ο ορανς τα ανα̨ριθομον ϝερρον εͱεν ανθροποτροφον.
Το̨ ανθροπς αυ̨τ εκψον επ αθο̨ οραναμο̨ϝον.
Θαιν. Θαιν. Θαιν. Θαιν. Θαιν. Θαιν. Θαιν.

Magb
Lebom
Lebom
Posts: 194
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 9:42 am
Location: Oslo, Norway

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by Magb »

I remember reading somewhere, probably on Language Log, about a guy working as a teacher who used the m-word and was informed by his students that that word was considered derogatory and offensive to women. People really, really don't like that word.

Edit: found it: http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/language ... 05057.html
Edit again with the actual quote:
A student in my Shakespeare class announced that the word "moist" (which I had uttered to describe Egypt in Antony & Cleopatra) is offensive to women. Some of the other women in the class concurred (not hostilely--just as a matter of information for a clueless male professor). I was somewhat flabbergasted, and nobody would articulate a reason for the offensiveness--except for one male student's eventual suggestion that the word reminds women of sexual arousal. That association is not at all beside-the-point of my description of Egypt in the play--but why would such a connotation make the word offensive per se? As far as I could ascertain, "damp" and "wet" don't carry whatever stigma attaches to "moist." What am I missing here?!

Travis B.
Sumerul
Sumerul
Posts: 3570
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 12:47 pm
Location: Milwaukee, US

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by Travis B. »

I was not aware that moist was considered derogatory by anyone until reading the above post, and from googling the word supposedly it is used to derogatorily refer to men as homosexual. IDGI.
Dibotahamdn duthma jallni agaynni ra hgitn lakrhmi.
Amuhawr jalla vowa vta hlakrhi hdm duthmi xaja.
Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro.

User avatar
Frislander
Avisaru
Avisaru
Posts: 836
Joined: Mon Feb 29, 2016 6:34 am
Location: The North

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by Frislander »

Travis B. wrote:I was not aware that moist was considered derogatory by anyone until reading the above post, and from googling the word supposedly it is used to derogatorily refer to men as homosexual. IDGI.


It must be an Americanism surely?
https://frislander.tumblr.com/

First known on here as Karero

User avatar
linguoboy
Sanno
Sanno
Posts: 3681
Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2002 9:00 am
Location: Rogers Park/Evanston

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by linguoboy »

Travis B. wrote:I was not aware that moist was considered derogatory by anyone until reading the above post, and from googling the word supposedly it is used to derogatorily refer to men as homosexual. IDGI.

This comes as news to this homosexual man. But maybe I'm not the target demographic.

User avatar
Salmoneus
Sanno
Sanno
Posts: 3197
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 5:00 pm
Location: One of the dark places of the world

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by Salmoneus »

I think the "moist" thing must be one of those american preoccupations, like meth and pentecostalism. I've never had anybody around here comment on it, but Americans seem to froth at the mouth about the word.

Personally, I think it's a nice word. And much, much more pleasant than "damp".
Blog: [url]http://vacuouswastrel.wordpress.com/[/url]

But the river tripped on her by and by, lapping
as though her heart was brook: Why, why, why! Weh, O weh
I'se so silly to be flowing but I no canna stay!

User avatar
Zaarin
Smeric
Smeric
Posts: 1136
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:00 pm

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by Zaarin »

In the wise words of Gandalf, "“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world." ;)
"But if of ships I now should sing, what ship would come to me,
What ship would bear me ever back across so wide a Sea?”

hwhatting
Smeric
Smeric
Posts: 2315
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2002 2:49 am
Location: Bonn, Germany

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by hwhatting »

Salmoneus wrote:I think the "moist" thing must be one of those american preoccupations, like meth and pentecostalism. I've never had anybody around here comment on it, but Americans seem to froth at the mouth about the word.

Personally, I think it's a nice word. And much, much more pleasant than "damp".

Anything that is an American preoccupation will sooner or later become a preoccupation of the world. Be prepared.
And I like that word. Never understood why people don't like the sound of it.

User avatar
gach
Avisaru
Avisaru
Posts: 472
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2003 11:03 am
Location: displaced from Helsinki

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by gach »

hwhatting wrote:And I like that word. Never understood why people don't like the sound of it.


I've always understood that "damp" refers primarily to unwanted moisture (as in "The clothes are still damp" or "There is damp creeping up your wallpapers") so "dampen the pie" doesn't really work as either a baking instruction or sexual innuendo.

hwhatting
Smeric
Smeric
Posts: 2315
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2002 2:49 am
Location: Bonn, Germany

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by hwhatting »

@ gach - sorry, I was talking about "moist", not damp.

User avatar
gach
Avisaru
Avisaru
Posts: 472
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2003 11:03 am
Location: displaced from Helsinki

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by gach »

OK, I agree that it's a quite satisfying word.

User avatar
linguoboy
Sanno
Sanno
Posts: 3681
Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2002 9:00 am
Location: Rogers Park/Evanston

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by linguoboy »

Salmoneus wrote:Personally, I think it's a nice word. And much, much more pleasant than "damp".

I've never understood how people who dislike "moist" describe the consistency of a good cake. It's certainly not "damp" or "humid" and "soggy" is something else altogether. I suppose they fall back on litotes?

Travis B.
Sumerul
Sumerul
Posts: 3570
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 12:47 pm
Location: Milwaukee, US

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by Travis B. »

I do not get the idea that moist has sexual connotations. To me, wet definitely has strong sexual connotations in certain contexts, whereas moist to me is, as linguoboy mentions, a word for describing things like cakes and so on.
Dibotahamdn duthma jallni agaynni ra hgitn lakrhmi.
Amuhawr jalla vowa vta hlakrhi hdm duthmi xaja.
Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro.

Vijay
Smeric
Smeric
Posts: 2244
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:25 pm
Location: Austin, TX, USA

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by Vijay »

linguoboy wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:Personally, I think it's a nice word. And much, much more pleasant than "damp".

I've never understood how people who dislike "moist" describe the consistency of a good cake. It's certainly not "damp" or "humid" and "soggy" is something else altogether. I suppose they fall back on litotes?

Spongy?

User avatar
mèþru
Smeric
Smeric
Posts: 1984
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2015 6:44 am
Location: suburbs of Mrin
Contact:

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by mèþru »

I think of spongy as being different from moist.
ìtsanso, God In The Mountain, may our names inspire the deepest feelings of fear in urkos and all his ilk, for we have saved another man from his lies! I welcome back to the feast hall kal, who will never gamble again! May the eleven gods bless him!
kårroť

User avatar
linguoboy
Sanno
Sanno
Posts: 3681
Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2002 9:00 am
Location: Rogers Park/Evanston

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by linguoboy »

mèþru wrote:I think of spongy as being different from moist.

Spongy is the proper texture for, well, sponge cake, but would be odd in other cakes (e.g. pound cake) which should nonetheless still be moist. Still, it would work in a pinch.

cunningham
Lebom
Lebom
Posts: 177
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 4:28 pm
Location: The Swamp

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by cunningham »

It might depend on the pronunciation.

People in my area (Delaware) pronounce it like /mõiçt/, the õ being a nasal /ɔ/. I've also heard /mõiçtj/

Delawarians also pronounce their R's like /œw/ So "moisture" would be pronounced like /mõiçtjœw/.

Talk about disgusting.

Travis B.
Sumerul
Sumerul
Posts: 3570
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 12:47 pm
Location: Milwaukee, US

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by Travis B. »

cunningham wrote:It might depend on the pronunciation.

People in my area (Delaware) pronounce it like /mõiçt/, the õ being a nasal /ɔ/. I've also heard /mõiçtj/

Delawarians also pronounce their R's like /œw/ So "moisture" would be pronounced like /mõiçtjœw/.

Talk about disgusting.

I thought my dialect was odd!
Dibotahamdn duthma jallni agaynni ra hgitn lakrhmi.
Amuhawr jalla vowa vta hlakrhi hdm duthmi xaja.
Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro.

User avatar
2+3 clusivity
Avisaru
Avisaru
Posts: 454
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:34 pm

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by 2+3 clusivity »

Hmm, yeah, we should totally replace moist with turgid.
linguoboy wrote:So that's what it looks like when the master satirist is moistened by his own moutarde.

----
Smeric
Smeric
Posts: 1418
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by ---- »

cunningham wrote:It might depend on the pronunciation.

People in my area (Delaware) pronounce it like /mõiçt/, the õ being a nasal /ɔ/. I've also heard /mõiçtj/

Delawarians also pronounce their R's like /œw/ So "moisture" would be pronounced like /mõiçtjœw/.

Talk about disgusting.


lying is immoral

Travis B.
Sumerul
Sumerul
Posts: 3570
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 12:47 pm
Location: Milwaukee, US

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by Travis B. »

thetha wrote:
cunningham wrote:It might depend on the pronunciation.

People in my area (Delaware) pronounce it like /mõiçt/, the õ being a nasal /ɔ/. I've also heard /mõiçtj/

Delawarians also pronounce their R's like /œw/ So "moisture" would be pronounced like /mõiçtjœw/.

Talk about disgusting.


lying is immoral


I highly doubt that anyone here really believes cunningham speaks that way.
Dibotahamdn duthma jallni agaynni ra hgitn lakrhmi.
Amuhawr jalla vowa vta hlakrhi hdm duthmi xaja.
Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro.

----
Smeric
Smeric
Posts: 1418
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by ---- »

Don't be silly. It's still a lie even if no one believes it.

jmcd
Smeric
Smeric
Posts: 1034
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 11:46 am
Location: Réunion
Contact:

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by jmcd »

I think Travis's point is that it is not intended to deceive. I, on the other hand, find it quite plauible.

User avatar
Curlyjimsam
Lebom
Lebom
Posts: 205
Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 11:57 am
Location: Elsewhere
Contact:

Re: What should be done about the word "moist"?

Post by Curlyjimsam »

Travis B. wrote:I was not aware that moist was considered derogatory by anyone until reading the above post, and from googling the word supposedly it is used to derogatorily refer to men as homosexual. IDGI.


The sort of people who take university classes in Shakespeare, particularly in America, seem to live in a curious little world of their own and are probably not worth paying too much attention to.

Post Reply