Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Nov 5 01:21:39 UTC 2011

In "Nature's Body: Gender in the Making of Modern Science" (1993),
Londa Schiebinger writes (of ancient and/or early modern beliefs):

"Things hot and dry---the sun, for example---were considered
masculine, while things cold and moist---like the moon, or Western
regions of the earth---were thought of as feminine."  [p. 38]  And:

"At the heart of the humoral tradition lay the teaching that
terrestrial elements stood in a hierarchical relationship to one
another: things hot and dry were superior to things cold and moist."  [p. 186]

Perhaps here lies the explanation of the alleged feminine distaste
for the word "moist" -- associated with "cold" and the inferior.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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