The other day I was driving my son Fred (aged 11) to his diving club at the London Aquatic Centre. Each diving session is preceded by an hour of dry-land training, where they practise somersaults, twists, tucks and pikes etc over a pit of foam mattresses. I realised that Fred only had a towel and swimming trunks. The following conversation ensued:
ME: Wait a minute, what are you going to wear for the dry-land training?
FRED: Just what I’m wearing now.
ME: What, trousers and a T-shirt?
FRED: Yeah, I’ll take my shoes off, it’ll be fine.
ME: But shouldn’t you wear proper kit? Like a tracksuit or something?
FRED: I haven’t got a tracksuit. You keep saying you’ll buy me one.
ME: Yeah, OK – but couldn’t you wear your school PE kit?
ME: Why not?
FRED: That’d be moist.
ME: What? Your PE kit’s moist?
FRED: Yeah, it’s moist.
ME: Why didn’t you tell me, we should have washed it –
FRED: No, I mean it’s moist. Like, you know, with the school badge on it. That’s really moist.
ME: What are you talking about? What does ‘moist’ mean?
FRED: ‘Moist’ means ‘shit’ or ‘rubbish’. Didn’t you even know that?
Well, I didn’t know that. I sometimes think the English language moves too fast for me to keep track of. But I quite like this new usage of moist. It seems to make a sort of sense.