Most people absolutely cannot stand this word. Me, on the other hand, I don’t particularly mind it. I think it’s a really good Goldilocks descriptor for when something isn’t wet, and it’s not dry, and it’s not even really quite damp.
But what is it about certain words that drive us to the brink of insanity? The New Yorker held an entire contest about eradicating certain ones from our language, for Christophe’s sake! We already know that despite words being a mere combination of consonants and syllables that our vernacular approves of, they have the power to cause heart break, fights, law suits, even wars if you want to get deep about it. (On a lighter note they also can bring a tear to our eye, inspire, enlighten, yadda yadda.)
There are just some words, however—not necessarily important in meaning or offensive in context—that literally make us want to run directly into a glass-door on purpose.
Maybe “literally” is that word for you.
Universally, it seems, humans cannot handle that poor word moist. Other grand offenders (after taking a very scientific poll which included my cat) include panty, ointment, titty, chunk, pus, and supple. Yolk. Placenta. Or anything that evokes a sibilant S–that drawn-out sssssss that makes a normal person sound like a snake.
(A double-sibilant S is like auditory kiss of death. I’d rather you stab me in the ear than say the word crisps or breasts, like Veronica Corningstone did in the soundbite below.)
I feel really bad for these words. They didn’t ask to be born, they just were, thanks to our language’s need for more adjectives and nouns. Leandra hates the word “penchant” and “apathy” when used incorrectly but what in the flying squirrel did these words ever do to her? Or us?
Well, they destroyed our eardrums, for one.
Because it’s Thursday and I don’t want to end things on an angry-at-the-Dictionary note, I’ll also throw in some words that can repair all of the now-bleeding caverns of our ears:
Chupacabra. Polenta. Peanut butter cup. Wombat. Papier-mâché when pronounced this way.
I could go on and on but I’ll spare you your eyeballs since you’ll need at least one of your five senses un-maimed. So let’s shut this down in the only way we know how: a disco dance party in the comments section.
Fire away tiny dancers, tell us all about the words you loathe and the ones you love.
One more thing…