The word “moist” is commonly known as the world’s least favorite word. And to support this hatred there’s actually scientific research behind it. Here’s the research.
Researchers from Oberlin College in Ohio and Trinity University in San Antonio ran three different experiments [PDF] to figure out how many people really find the word “moist” disdainful, and why. They found that more than 20 percent of the population studied was averse to the word, but that it didn’t have anything to do with the way it sounds. Rather, it’s the association with bodily functions that seem to turn most people off, whether they realize it or not.
Most of the participants who told the researchers they hated the word chalked it up to phonics. “It just has an ugly sound that makes whatever you’re talking about sound gross,” one participant argued. However, people did not show similar aversions to words that utilize the same sounds, such as foist or rejoiced. People found the word moist most disgusting when it was accompanied by unrelated, positive words like paradise, or when it was accompanied by sexual words. By contrast, when it accompanied food words (like cake), people weren’t as bothered by it.
So there you have it. Anytime moist is associated with the human body, it’s pretty much referred to as disgusting but used in other context we’re pretty much OK with it. So what happens when you take a bunch of male celebrities and create a video of them saying “Moist?” Not much other than Ed Sheeran not being able to keep a straight face. Plus there’s other information on the word “moist” in this video.