Sunday, March 30, 2008

How NOT to Use a Word: Moisture

I hate the word "moisture." The very sound of it makes my stomach turn.

I have not always been against the word, though. But living in drought-prone Utah for three years pushed me to my limit. On every Sunday, in every prayer, there was a request (or, on rare occasions, a thanks given) for "moisture." What these dear folks meant, of course, was "rain" or "snow." But they didn't say "rain" or "snow." They said "moisture."

Why do people have to say "moisture" instead of "rain"? "Rain" gets the point across so much better than that lousy "m" word.

Moisture is what you get with a damp rag or what comes out of a spray bottle. It suggests a very small amount of water. Mist is moisture. Dew in small quantities can be classified as moisture. A rain shower--no matter how much rain actually falls--is not moisture. It is moisture on steroids.

No one in a drought-ridden area need ask for "moisture"--it wouldn't be enough H20 for put a dent in the drought. "Rain" or "snow" are more appropriate words.

Weather forecasters, like Mormons, are equally guilty of using this word inappropriately (Which means the KSL Eubankses are doubly guilty). How often do we hear that "moisture" is in the forecast--or (worse) "significant moisture"? You would think that weather-folk would know better than to call rain something other than "rain." Not the case, though.

The day I hear the phrase "frozen moisture" will be a sad day indeed.

The word "moisture" is fine if you use it correctly--and not around me--but I recommend avoiding it altogether. Sooner or later you will realize how ridiculous it sounds.


  1. Hey Scott, did you see my pictures from Alaska? They are full of significant, frozen MOISTURE!!!!

  2. I agree! When I pray - I pray for rain!

  3. Sooo... would the word "precipitation" be preferable? (I hear that one A LOT!) I guess I watch the wrong weather guys because I rarely hear them mentioning "moisture." (Or maybe I just tune it out.) If I did, though, I'd have to agree with you- that's a silly word to use for RAIN or SNOW. Moisture is what I want from a lotion, not from the sky!

  4. mois·ture Audio Help /ˈmɔɪstʃər/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[mois-cher] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
    1. condensed or diffused liquid, esp. water: moisture in the air.
    2. a small quantity of liquid, esp. water; enough liquid to moisten.

  5. we are moving to a smaller town than Rexburg with more farmers. I am sure I will think of this post often

  6. I heard someone say the word moisture yesterday when referring to an upcoming frost.