Kraft Is Petitioning Merriam-Webster to Make This Cringy Word Its Word of the Year

“Operation Moist" is in full effect.

<p>Kevin Hellon / Shutterstock</p>

Kevin Hellon / Shutterstock

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines “kraft” as, in part, “a strong paper or cardboard made from wood pulp.” But the food-related Kraft, which makes its own brand of mayonnaise, would really like the word-keepers at Merriam-Webster to focus on one particular adjective — and they’d like those five letters to be the next word of the year.

The word in question is “moist,” and Kraft Real Mayo knows that you might’ve just cringed a little bit when you read that. But Kraft is playing its part to reclaim “moist,” making it … well, if not a beloved word, at least not one that makes you recoil every time you see it in a sentence. Or on a mayonnaise label.

To kick off “Operation Moist,” Kraft placed a massive six-foot replica of a Kraft Real Mayo jar outside Merriam-Webster’s Springfield, Massachusetts headquarters. (The jar is not filled with actual mayo.)

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“Dear Dictionary Gatekeepers, here is a 2023 pound jar of Kraft Real Mayo, aka the Moist Maker, aka the Moistiest,” the label on the oversized jar reads. “For years, we’ve watched ‘moist’ be degraded by the internet … the media deeming it ‘universally’ hated. We won’t let this slander go on any longer! Our mayo is indisputable evidence that moist is a great word, and that every meal is better moist! [...] With America’s help, we’ll make Moist your Word of the Year.”

Yes, Kraft wants Merriam-Webster to make “moist” its Word of the Year, which would put it on the list with previous years’ selections like “gaslighting,” “justice,” and “feminism.” To give “moist” a boost, Kraft is also hosting a live “Search-A-Thon” on Twitch, which is meant to encourage everyone to start searching for “moist” online, which Kraft says will raise everyone’s moist awareness. The company has also created a “Search Moist” website, which is just a shortcut to searching for “moist.” It will also be launching a #SearchMoist hashtag on social media.

“Kraft Real Mayo has such a devoted fanbase of mayo lovers, and we want to embolden them to help us change the perception by searching the word ‘moist’ online so many times that it’s elected Merriam-Webster’s word of the year,” Kraft Real Mayo brand manager Frances Sabatier told MassLive.

Merriam-Webster has not publicly responded to the “moist”-fest or to the giant mayo jar sitting in front of its building. But on Thursday, four days after its employees had to walk past Kraft’s unexpected delivery, it chose what could be a rather pointed Word of the Day on Twitter: Audacious. 

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