- (Received Pronunciation, General American) IPA(key): /mɔɪst/
Audio (RP) (file) Audio (GA) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɔɪst
The adjective is derived from Middle English moist, moiste (“damp, humid, moist, wet; well-irrigated, well-watered; made up of water or other fluids, fluid; of ale: fresh; (figuratively) carnal, lascivious; undisciplined, weak; (alchemy, medicine, physics) dominated by water as an element”) [and other forms], from Anglo-Norman moist, moiste, moste, Middle French moiste, and Old French moiste, muste (“damp, moist, wet”) (modern French moite); further etymology uncertain, perhaps a blend of a Late Latin variant of Latin mūcidus (“mouldy, musty”) + a Late Latin derivative of Latin mustum (“unfermented or partially fermented grape juice or wine, must”).
The noun is derived from the adjective.
moist (comparative moister or more moist, superlative moistest or most moist)
- Characterized by the presence of moisture; not dry; slightly wet; damp. [from 14th c.]
- Synonyms: moisty; see also Thesaurus:wet
- Antonyms: unmoist; see also Thesaurus:dry
- c. 1605–1608, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Tymon of Athens”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene iii], page 92, column 2:
- Will theſe moyſt Trees,
That haue out-liu'd the Eagle, page thy heeles
And skip when thou point'ſt out?
- 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), London: […] Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981, Prayer of Azariah, verse 26, column 1:
- And [the Angel of the Lord] made the mids of the fornace, as it had bene a moiſt whiſtling wind, ſo that the fire touched them not at all, neither hurt nor troubled them.
- 1625, [Samuel] Purchas, “Relations of Africa, Taken Out of Master George Sandys His Larger Discourse Obserued in His Iourney, Begun Ann. 1610. Lib. 2.”, in Purchas His Pilgrimes. […], 2nd part, London: […] William Stansby for Henrie Fetherstone, […], OCLC 960103045, 6th book, § III (The Pyramides Viewed, Sphynx and Other Antiquities. Iourney from Cairo to Gaza.), page 908:
- [Y]et the North-ſide [of the pyramids of Giza] moſt worne, by reaſon of the humiditie of the Northerne wind, which here is the moiſteſt.
- 1631, Francis [Bacon], “V. Century. [Experiments in Consort, Touching the Melioration of Fruits, Trees, and Plants.]”, in Sylua Syluarum: Or A Naturall Historie. In Ten Centuries. […], 3rd edition, London: […] William Rawley; [p]rinted by J[ohn] H[aviland] for William Lee […], paragraph 465, page 117, OCLC 1044372886:
- [W]e ſee Swines and Pigs Fleſh is the Moiſteſt of Fleſhes.
- 1637, John Milton, “Lycidas”, in Poems of Mr. John Milton, […], London: […] Ruth Raworth for Humphrey Mosely, […], published 1646, OCLC 606951673, page 63:
- Whilſt thee the ſhores, and ſounding Seas
Waſh far away, where ere thy bones are hurld,
Whether beyond the ſtormy Hebrides,
Where thou perhaps under the whelming tide
Viſit'ſt the bottom of the monſtrous world;
Or whether thou to our moiſt vows deny'd,
Sleep'ſt by the fable of Bellerus old, […]
- 1667, John Milton, “Book IX”, in Paradise Lost. […], London: […] [Samuel Simmons], […], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554, lines 1065–1066:
- [T]he Winds
Blow moiſt and keen, ſhattering the graceful locks
Of theſe fair ſpreading Trees; […]
- 1704, Nathan Bailey, “HOP”, in Dictionarium Rusticum & Urbanicum: Or, A Dictionary of All Sorts of Country Affairs, Handicraft, Trading, and Merchandizing. […], London: […] J. Nicholson, […], OCLC 1063071154, column 1:
- After every watering, which need not be above twice or thrice in every Summer, ſo they may be thoroughly wet, be ſure to make up the Hills, wherein holes for the water had been made, with ſome parings, and with the weeds, and cooleſt and moiſteſt Materials that can be got.
- 1843 December 19, Charles Dickens, “Stave Three. The Second of the Three Spirits.”, in A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, London: Chapman & Hall, […], OCLC 55746801, pages 83–84:
- Nor was it that the figs were moist and pulpy, or that the French plums blushed in modest tartness from their highly-decorated boxes, […]: but the customers were all so hurried and so eager in the hopeful promise of the day, that they tumbled up against each other at the door, […]
- 1937 November 1, “Books: Modernist Miracle: The Gardener Who Saw God—Edward James—Scribner ($2.50) [book review]”, in Time, New York, N.Y.: Time Inc., ISSN 0928-8430, OCLC 224518090, archived from the original on 10 November 2021:
- Joseph Smith, a diffident, conscientious young man with moist hands and an awkward, absent-minded manner, was head gardener at Wotton Vanborough.
- 2011, Dominic Streatfeild, “Stuff Happens”, in A History of the World since 9/11, London: Atlantic Books, →ISBN, page 192:
- 'The other car didn't explode,' continues Abu Shujaa. 'The explosives were a bit moist. They had been stored in a place that was too humid. […]'
- Of eyes: wet with tears; tearful; also (obsolete), watery due to some illness or to old age. [from 14th c.]
- c. 1596–1599 (date written), William Shakespeare, The Second Part of Henrie the Fourth, […], quarto edition, London: […] V[alentine] S[immes] for Andrew Wise, and William Aspley, published 1600, OCLC 55178895, [Act I, scene ii]:
- [H]aue you not a moiſt eie, a dry hand, a yelow cheeke, a white beard, a decreaſing leg, an increaſing belly? […] and will you yet call your ſelfe yong? fie, fie, fie, ſir Iohn.
- 1609 December (first performance), Benjamin Jonson [i.e., Ben Jonson], “Epicoene, or The Silent Woman. A Comœdie. […]”, in The Workes of Ben Jonson (First Folio), London: […] Will[iam] Stansby, published 1616, OCLC 960101342, Act I, scene i, page 531:
- Come, the other are conſiderations, when wee come to haue gray heads, and weake hammes, moiſt eyes, and ſhrunke members. Wee'll thinke on 'hem then; then wee'll pray, and faſt.
- a. 1851, William Wordsworth, “The White Doe of Rylstone”, in Henry [Hope] Reed, editor, The Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Philadelphia, Pa.: Hayes & Zell, […], published 1860, OCLC 6755364, canto II, page 332, column 2:
- And on the banner which stood near
He glanced a look of holy pride,
And his moist eyes were glorified; […]
- 1859, Alfred Tennyson, “Enid”, in Idylls of the King, London: Edward Moxon & Co., […], OCLC 911789798, page 64:
- At this the tender sound of his own voice
And sweet self-pity, or the fancy of it,
Made his eye moist; but Enid fear'd his eyes,
Moist as they were, wine-heated from the feast; […]
- 1974 December 6, “Trials: Mitchell and Stans: Not Guilty”, in Time, New York, N.Y.: Time Inc., ISSN 0928-8430, OCLC 224518090, archived from the original on 10 November 2021:
- Eyes moist, he [Maurice Stans] hugged one of his attorneys and later said: "I feel like I've been reborn."
- Of a climate, the weather, etc.: damp, humid, rainy. [from 14th c.]
- Synonyms: dank; see also Thesaurus:muggy
- 1697, Virgil, “The First Book of the Georgics”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. […], London: […] Jacob Tonson, […], OCLC 403869432, lines 145–146, page 53:
- Ye Swains, invoke the Pow'rs who rule the Sky,
For a moiſt Summer, and a Winter dry:
For Winter drout rewards the Peaſant's Pain,
And broods indulgent on the bury'd Grain.
- 1758, William Borlase, “Of the Air, and Weather”, in The Natural History of Cornwall. […], Oxford, Oxfordshire: […] [F]or the author, by W. Jackson; sold by W. Sandby, […], OCLC 1137791262, page 6:
- [I]n the year 1752, which we may reckon among ſome of our moiſteſt Summers throughout England, more Rain fell at London than at Plymouth, according to an eſtimate made at both places; […]
- 1864 May – 1865 November, Charles Dickens, “Mr. Wegg Looks after Himself”, in Our Mutual Friend. […], volume I, London: Chapman and Hall, […], published 1865, OCLC 1016551263, book the first (The Cup and the Lip), page 58:
- The time is early in the evening; the weather moist and raw.
- 2008 September 8, Graham Harvey, “Steaks are high”, in Alan Rusbridger, editor, The Guardian, London: Guardian News & Media, ISSN 0261-3077, OCLC 229952407, archived from the original on 14 March 2021:
- With its mild, moist climate, Britain is uniquely placed to grow good grass. Through the centuries pastures have produced many of our basic foods including our beef and lamb; our poultry and eggs; our milk[,] butter and cheese.
- (informal) Of the vagina: sexually lubricated due to sexual arousal; of a woman: sexually aroused, turned on. [from 20th c.]
- Synonym: wet
- 2008, Marcia King-Gamble, chapter 14, in Meet Phoenix (Kimani Romance), New York, N.Y.: Kimani Press, →ISBN, page 168:
- He slid a finger in me, checking to make sure I was moist and ready for him.
- (sciences, historical) Pertaining to one of the four essential qualities formerly believed to be present in all things, characterized by wetness; also, having a significant amount of this quality. [from 14th c.]
- c. 1599–1602 (date written), William Shakespeare, The Tragicall Historie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke: […] (Second Quarto), London: […] I[ames] R[oberts] for N[icholas] L[ing] […], published 1604, OCLC 760858814, [Act I, scene i]:
- [T]he moiſt ſtarre,
Vpon whoſe influence Neptunes Empier ſtands,
Was ſicke almoſt to doomeſday with eclipſe, […]
- 1621, William of Saluste, Lord of Bartus [i.e., Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas], “The Fourth Day of the First VVeeke of VVilliam of Salust, Lord of Bartas”, in T. L. D. M. P. [pseudonym; Thomas Lodge], transl., A Learned Summary upon the Famous Poeme of William of Saluste Lord of Bartus. […], London: […] [George Purslowe] for Iohn Grismand […], OCLC 1205178098, page 169:
- […] Ergo it behooveth then, that the firſt age, and the firſt ſeaſon of things ſhould beginne in the moiſteſt Signe, which is Aries, and in his head, as the principall of the Members, the Fortreſſe of the Soule, and the Signe of Life.
- 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], “Division of the Body. Humours, Spirits.”, in The Anatomy of Melancholy: […], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970, partition 1, section 1, member 2, subsection 2, page 13:
- Pituita, or Fleagme, is a cold and moiſt humour, begotten of the colder part of the Chylus, (or white iuyce comming of the meat digeſted in the ſtomacke) in the Liuer, his office is to nouriſh, and moiſten the members of the body, which as the tongue, are moued, that they be no ouer-drye.
- 1728, E[phraim] Chambers, “ELEMENTS”, in Cyclopædia: Or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences; […] In Two Volumes, volume I (A–H), London: […] James and John Knapton [et al.], OCLC 951657352, page 288, column 2:
- He [Aristotle] made four Elements; the firſt, cold and dry; the ſecond, cold and moiſt; the third, hot and moiſt; and the fourth, hot and dry. […] And Water, being the coldeſt and moiſteſt of all Things, he call'd his ſecond Element, Water.
- 1791, Oliver Goldsmith, “Of Fish in General”, in An History of the Earth, and Animated Nature. […], volume VI, new edition, London: […] F[rancis] Wingrave, successor to Mr. [John] Nourse, […], OCLC 877622212, part I (The Cetaceous Kind), pages 165–166:
- They [fish] are cold and moiſt, and muſt needs, ſay they, produce juices of the ſame kind, and conſequently are improper to ſtrengthen the body. In this diverſity of opinion, it is the wiſest way to eat our fiſh in the ordinary manner, and pay no great attention to cooks or doctors.
- 1862 August – 1863 March, Charles Kingsley, chapter VIII, in The Water-Babies: A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby, London; Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: Macmillan and Co., published 1863, OCLC 48187780, page 330:
- Neither did the live coals, which were lying about in plenty, burn him; for, being a water-baby, his radical humours were of a moist and cold nature, […]
- Fluid, liquid, watery. [from 14th or earlier–17th c.]
- Synonyms: liquidlike; see also Thesaurus:fluidic
- c. 1596–1599 (date written), William Shakespeare, The Second Part of Henrie the Fourth, […], quarto edition, London: […] V[alentine] S[immes] for Andrew Wise, and William Aspley, published 1600, OCLC 55178895, [Act IV, scene iii]:
- O pardon me, my liege, but for my teares,
The moiſt impediments vnto my ſpeech,
I had foreſtald this deere and deep rebuke, […]
- [1611?], Homer, “Book I”, in Geo[rge] Chapman, transl., The Iliads of Homer Prince of Poets. […], London: […] Nathaniell Butter, OCLC 614803194; The Iliads of Homer, Prince of Poets, […], volume I, new edition, London: Charles Knight and Co., […], 1843, OCLC 987451361, page 35:
- 1658, Thomas Browne, “Hydriotaphia, Urne-buriall. […]. Chapter I.”, in Hydriotaphia, Urne-buriall, […] Together with The Garden of Cyrus, […], London: […] Hen[ry] Brome […], OCLC 48702491; reprinted as Hydriotaphia (The English Replicas), New York, N.Y.: Payson & Clarke Ltd., 1927, OCLC 78413388, pages 5–6:
- Some being of the opinion of Thales, that water was the originall of all things, thought it most equall to ſubmit unto the principle of putrefaction, and conclude in a moiſt relentment.
- (also poetic) Bringing moisture or rain. [a. 14th – 18th c.]
- 1590, Edmund Spenser, “Book III, Canto I”, in The Faerie Queene. […], London: […] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, OCLC 960102938, stanza 57, page 407:
- And the moiſt daughters of huge Atlas ſtroue
Into the Ocean deepe to driue their weary droue.
- c. 1604–1605 (date written), William Shakespeare, “All’s VVell, that Ends VVell”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene i], page 236, column 1:
- Ere twice in murke and occidentall dampe
Moiſt Heſperus hath quench'd her ſleepy Lampe: […]
- 1713, Alexander Pope, “Windsor-Forest. […]”, in The Works of Mr. Alexander Pope, volume I, London: […] W[illiam] Bowyer, for Bernard Lintot, […], published 1717, OCLC 43265629, page 56:
- Nor yet, when moiſt Arcturus clouds the sky,
The woods and fields their pleaſing toils deny.
- Fluid, liquid, watery. [from 14th or earlier–17th c.]
Moist is mostly used for agreeable or neutral conditions (for example, “moist cake”) while damp is mainly used for disagreeable conditions (“damp clothes”).
- moist media
- moistened (adjective)
- moistening (adjective, noun)
- moistful (archaic)
- moistify (chiefly Scotland, humorous)
- moistured (adjective)
- moistureproofing (adjective, noun)
- moisturise, moisturize
- moisturised, moisturized (adjective)
- moisturiser, moisturizer
- moisturising, moisturizing (adjective, noun)
- (obsolete except US, regional) Moistness; also, moisture.
- 1614–1615, Homer, “The Eighth Book of Homer’s Odysseys”, in Geo[rge] Chapman, transl., Homer’s Odysses. […], London: […] Rich[ard] Field [and William Jaggard], for Nathaniell Butter, published 1615, OCLC 1002865976; republished in The Odysseys of Homer, […], volume I, London: John Russell Smith, […], 1857, OCLC 987451380, lines 65–68, page 171:
- [T]hey launch'd the ship, the mast it bore
Advanc'd, sails hoised, every seat his oar
Gave with a leather thong. The deep moist then
They further reach'd.
- 1667, John Milton, “Book III”, in Paradise Lost. […], London: […] [Samuel Simmons], […], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554, lines 658 and 661–663:
- Th' Arch-Angel Uriel, one of the ſeav'n
That run through all the Heav'ns, or down to th' Earth
Bear his [God's] ſwift errands over moiſt and dry,
O're Sea and Land: […]
- moistless (archaic)
From Middle English moisten, moist, moiste (“to make moist or wet; to soak in liquid; to become moist or wet; to provide with moisture or water; to satisfy thirst with liquor or water, slake”) [and other forms], and then either:
- from Anglo-Norman muster (“to make moist or wet”), Middle French moistir, and Old French moistir (“to make moist or wet; to become moist or wet”) (compare enmoistir; modern French moitir), from Old French moiste, muste (“damp, moist, wet”) (see etymology 1) + -ir (suffix forming infinitives of second conjugation verbs); or
- from Middle English moist, moiste (adjective) (see etymology 1), though the adjective is first attested later.
moist (third-person singular simple present moists, present participle moisting, simple past and past participle moisted)
- (obsolete except Britain, regional and US) To make (something) moist or wet; to moisten.
- Synonyms: dampen, enmoisten, hydrate, wet
- Antonyms: dehydrate, desiccate, dry, (obsolete) exiccate, exsiccate, parch
- 1566 January 30, Iohn Iewel [i.e. John Jewel], “M. [Thomas] Hardinge. The 21. Diuision.”, in A Replie unto M. Hardinges Ansvveare: […], London: […] Henry VVykes, OCLC 1113707714:
- He calleth for a ſponge (ſaith Theodoritus) and therevvith moiſteth and vvaſsheth Simeones mouthe, and then geueth him the holy Sacrament.
- 1579, Plutarke of Chæronea [i.e., Plutarch], “The Life of Sertorius”, in Thomas North, transl., The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romaines, […], London: […] Richard Field, OCLC 1013894785, page 629:
- They [the legendary Fortunate Isles] haue raine there very ſeldom, howbeit a gentle winde commonly that bloweth in a litle ſiluer dew, which moiſteth the earth ſo finely, that it maketh it fertile and luſtie, not onely to bring forth all that is ſet or ſowen apon it but of it ſelfe without mans hand it beareth ſo good frute, as ſufficiently maintaineth the inhabitants dwelling apon it, liuing idlely, and taking no paines.
- c. 1606–1607, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Anthonie and Cleopatra”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act V, scene ii], page 367, column 1:
- Now no more
The iuyce of Egypts Grape ſhall moyſt this lip.
- (obsolete, figuratively) To inspire, to refresh (someone); also, to soften (one's heart).
- (obsolete except Britain, regional and US) To make (something) moist or wet; to moisten.
- (US) To rain lightly; to drizzle.
- (obsolete) To have an effect of moistening or wetting.
- c. 1527–1542, Thomas Wyatt, “Auysing the bright bemes of these fayer Iyes”, in Egerton MS 2711, page 22r:
- Auyſing the bright bemes of theſe fayer Iyes
where he is that myn oft moiſteth & waſſheth
- Avising the bright beams of these fair eyes,
Where he is that mine oft moisteth and washeth; […]
- Avising the bright beams of these fair eyes,
- 1553, “Of Mouyng Pitie”, in Thomas Wilson, transl., The Arte of Rhetorike, for the Use of All sutche as are Studious of Eloquence, […], London: […] Jhon Kyngston, published 1580, OCLC 1205426564, page 136:
- Againe, nothyng moiſteth ſoner then water. Therefore, a wepyng eye cauſeth muche moiſture, and prouoketh teares.
- , Thomas Paynell, transl., Regimen Sanitatis Salerni. […] [Governance of Hygiene of Salerno], London: […] Wyllyam How, for Abraham Veale, OCLC 504511932, folio ciii, verso:
- There is other ſome yͭ [that] heateth temperately. And another yͭ cooleth temperatly, and if moiſtneſſe be ioyned therewith, it moiſteth, and with a drie thinge, it drieth.
- 1885, Henry J[ames] Swallow, “Ralph de Nevill, First Earl of Westmoreland”, in De Nova Villa: Or, The House of Nevill in Sunshine and Shade, Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Andrew Reid, […]; London: Griffith, Farran, & Co., […], OCLC 2943250, page 42:
- [S]prinkle a vessel of water, and it moisteth not, but cast it out wholly together, and it both washeth and nourisheth. This notable saying, before this time hath encourage Emperors, animated Kings, and allured Princes, to conquer realmes to them adjoining, to vanquish nations to their dominions adjacent, and to subdue people either necessary for their purpose, or being to them daily enemies and continual adversaries.
|present tense||past tense|
- ^ “moist(e, adj.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ “moist, adj. and n.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2021; “moist, adj.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
- ^ “moisten, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ “moist, v.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2021.
- (Courland) mȯistõ
From Proto-Finnic *muistadak, from Proto-Finno-Ugric *muja-. Cognates include Estonian mõistma (“to understand”), Finnish muistaa (“to remember”).
- Alternative form of moiste