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Moist, Phlegm, and Other Words that Repel

Words that Repel

Did you ever just HEAR a word and get that ‘yuck” sensation?  It is amazing how just the sound of certain words can make us queasy. Sometimes they conjure up an image, sometimes a scent, often a bodily function or habit – but the power of words to repel us, often known as “word aversion”, is remarkably strong.

Just think about it. You are having a conversation with a friend and he tells you he hasn’t been feeling well and has been producing a lot of phlegm. You find yourself retching, right? Just the sound of the word produces an auditory and visual image of “hocking a loogie”!  Talk about wanting to “barf”! Similar words produce similar visceral responses, such as moist, puke or vomit. Interesting enough, however, words that sound similar to these, such as joist, foist, duke, fluke, etc. do not invoke the same involuntary repulsion.

Interestingly enough, the word “moist” appears at the top of the list of words that make us cringe. But who among us hasn’t experience a moment of disgust when hearing that a wound started to “ooze”, a child’s nose was filled with “mucous”, a “cyst” had developed or the infection was filled with “pus”. The sound of those words produces as strong a reaction as a scent produces a memory!

So, when you think about practicing daily “hygiene”, even though some people shun the word and the activity, think about it in comparison to the words that really make you want to “upchuck” and realize…hygiene is just light stuff! So put on a smile and brush, floss and use your TUNG Brush and Gel every day! Just for fun, think about how having a clean and healthy mouth will make the nasties taste better when you react to hearing those repulsive words!

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