Yesterday on Slate.com, writer Matthew J.X. Malady went into great detail to tell us how uncomfortable the word “moist” makes many people feel.
In “Why Do We Hate Certain Words? The curious phenomenon of word aversion,” Malady defines word aversion as “seemingly pedestrian, inoffensive words driving some people up the wall.” He explains that it is not the meaning of the word itself but the sound and sight of the word that make us averse to a word. Ointment, crevice, fudge and navel also give many of us the creeps.
Back to moist. Despite its being such a slimy word, the big three cake mix makers use moist as a key brand attribute. They’ve even turned moist into a sub-brand: Super Moist, Moist Deluxe, Moist Supreme. Are we moist enough yet? I can still sing the jingle from an old Duncan Hines spot : “So moist, so moistfully good, they’ll always come back for more.” Moistfully? It may have been slimy, but it stuck to my brain.
Do you think Betty, Duncan or the Pillsbury Doughboy will break ranks and dump moist in favor of something less offensive?
Last December the Huffington Post suggested five alternatives to moist: the Orwellian-Newspeaky “not dry,” along with “hydrated,” “good crumb,” “spongy,” and “divine.” I don’t think we’ve hit the mark yet. Let’s put that cake back in the oven and keep trying.