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moist revisited

August 28, 2016

I read recently that Oxford Dictionaries have just done a survey (with respondents from the UK, the USA, Canada etc) on people’s least favourite word; and the frontrunner so far is moist.  I must say I don’t mind the word myself – in fact I think it is quite evocative –  but the news prompts me to re-put up my post on moist from last year: here it is!

 

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?

FRED: No.

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.

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