Tuesday, May 8, 2012

In defense of MOIST

Yes, I said it. MOIST.

Some people hate this word. Recently, JEFritz listed it as a Word That Needs to Go Away. Now, I agree about the invented and redundant word "ginormous," and I agree that "special" has lost all meaning due to over-use.

But MOIST? I must disagree.

Apparently people get a creepy feeling from this word because of its application to dank, dark, musty, mold-encrusted spaces. Hidden grottoes, perhaps, where the smell of algae and moss hangs thick in the air. Let me throw some more description on that -- humid, stale air pressing on your sweat-pricked skin, suffocating as a moist wool blanket.

OK, that's just "summertime" where I live, but... we're way beyond the implications of one little word like MOIST. So you want to get rid of MOIST? Okay.

But consider the loss:

This chocolate cake is moist and delicious. 

will become... what?

Sad cake is sad.
This chocolate cake is damp and delicious.

Damp cake?

This chocolate cake is humid and delicious. 
This chocolate cake is wet. Poor thing. It could have been moist. 
I threw the dank, musty chocolate cake in the trash and mourned the loss.

English is a wonderful language. Few of our words have only one use, and we're inventing more all the time. And if you don't like a word, you can just avoid it. Or can you?


Elizabeth Twist said...

A couple of years ago a rather famous mommy blogger complained about "moist." Shortly thereafter I began to run into more and more people complaining about the word. I blame her for starting this upsetting trend.

All words have a time and place, I think, even "ginormous" and "special." I refuse to eat humid cake. (But I will take a ginormous piece of moist cake.)

Elizabeth Twist: Writer, Plague Enthusiast

mooderino said...

I don't see a problem with moist. Depends what it refers to. In cookery books, fine. In romance novels, not so much.

Moody Writing
The Funnily Enough

L. Blankenship said...

I think "special" can recover if given some time off -- I think "awesome" is starting to heal from its massive over-use in my teenage years...

"Ginormous", well, in dialogue it sure will tell you a lot about the character.

Libby said...

Terry Pratchett has a character named Moist, and he is awesome.

JEFritz said...

Hey, I didn't come up with the moist thing. I actually found it online and realized hmm. It is sort of gross. Bad connotations I guess.

L. Blankenship said...

It's not just you. It's one of those things that seems to crop up every so often.

lion said...

Psychology” is the scientific study of mind and of consciousness. Psychology attempts to explain, predict, modify and ultimately improve the lives of people and the world in which they live. Psychology as the behaviourist views it is a purely objective experimental branch of natural science, which needs introspection as little as do the sciences of physics and chemistry.

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