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Why People Hate Words Like 'Moist'

When people have a negative physical reaction to a specific word, it's called word aversion (not misophonia as some people mistakenly presume). "Moist," "pustule," and "panties" are just a few of the words that come up over and over. 

By
Mignon Fogarty
Episode #733
a woman holding a disgusting moist rag

In this discussion, Mignon Fogarty and Jade Wu, host of the Savvy Psychologist podcast, discuss word aversion. Some of the points covered include:

  • What are some of the most commonly hated words?
  • Who is most likely to find certain words disgusting?
  • How do researchers measure whether people really hate certain words?
  • What are some different theories about why people hate certain words?
  • What future research might be able to tease out the details of word aversion?

You can listen to the entire interview by clicking the player above or by finding the Grammar Girl podcast on any podcasting app, but if you prefer to read it, we also have a complete (rough) transcript.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show.

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