more seat-of-the-pants etymology for our delectation

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Mon Nov 17 19:52:06 UTC 2008

Not directly on the topic of this thead--but related to the widespread (and recent?) revulsion that the word "moist" evokes (principally among women?), a topic that we have discussed on occasion.

I brought up that subject in class today. One young women professed to have a larger (and, she acknowledged, idiosyncratic) list of such words, which she agreed to WRITE DOWN (unable to bring herself to speak them).  Her list consisted, in addition to "moist," of the semantically sort-of similar "soggy" and "congealed."  And, finally, "lapel"!  I could not ascertain the nature of that allergy. I sadistically pronounced the word two or three times, and the young woman almost fled bodily from the classroom.

Powerful things, words--and mysterious!


The American Dialect Society -

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