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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 the Quick and Dirty Tips network and creator of Grammar Girl, which has been named one of Writer's Digest's 101 best websites for writers multiple times. The Grammar Girl podcast has also won Best Education Podcast multiple times in the Podcast Awards, and Mignon is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame. Mignon is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing" and six other books on writing. She has appeared as a guest on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and the "Today Show" and has been featured in the New York Times, Business Week, the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN.com, and more. She was previously the chair of media entrepreneurship in the Reynolds School of Journalism in Reno, NV. She hates the phrase "grammar nazi" and loves the word "kerfuffle." She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University. Mignon believes that learning is fun, and the vast rules of grammar are wonderful fodder for lifelong study. 

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