More on "moist"

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Sat Aug 8 18:23:55 UTC 2009

On Aug 8, 2009, at 9:20 AM, Ben Zimmer wrote:

> On Sat, Aug 8, 2009 at 12:04 PM, Jonathan Lighter<wuxxmupp2000 at
> > wrote:
>> The Archives do not wish to disgorge very much of last year's
>> discussion of
>> the allegedd offensiveness of this word.

the discussion here (pretty considerable) was mostly in October 2007,
with a bit in November.  and a fair amount on Language Log at the time
-- which evoked a huge pile of e-mail to me, which i responded to and
saved, but haven't been able to cope with for posting.
>> Just heard on NPR's quiz show "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me!" ...  that
>> users of FaceBook have declared
>> the word "moist" to be the most unpleasant word in English (or on
>> FaceBook -
>> sorry I didn't hear the entire thing)...
>> The show then quoted a linguist (one of us?) who suggested that
>> the perceived putridity may come from the "oi" diphthong. Why a
>> humble
>> diphthong should be considered offensive went unexplored...
> Well, Mark Peters recently quoted me about the "oi" of "moist" (and
> "ointment", "goiter", etc.) in his column for Good:
> quoting:

The American Dialect Society -

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