It makes me feel all moist and husky


Senior Member
português, Brasil

I was just watching a video of what seemed to be a Christopher Hitchens' meet-up with readers in wich he interacts with this man from the audience who (sort of) quotes Freud's words in The Future Of An Illusion in saying that men's destructiveness is so powerful that it can only be offset by love, not reason alone. Hitchens replies that religions, more often that not, don't trade in love, goes on to cite some gory and hateful Biblical passages, as he would do, and says that, as many people in the room probably knew from their own experiences, love could be felt without any reference to religion, at which point he receives a round of applause. (Phew!) When he is applauded he smiles and says: "Well, I'm touched to hear it! Makes me feel all moist and husky" and then the audience bursts into laughter.

This expression "all moist and husky" vaguely amused me too, but I'm not sure I get the sense. I searched on Google, of course, but apparently it's not a set expression as most of the hits were comments about this very same Hitchens' joke. I interpreted it a a sarcastic remark that the applause would make him tearful and his voice begin to crack with emotion. I just want to confirm if this is how a native speaker would interpret these words in the given context, because in isolation they seem to have a slightly sexual connotation.

Thanks in advance for taking the time :)
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    Senior Member
    American English
    I agree with your interpretation. The sexual interpretation might apply in another situation, but not here, in my opinion.

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    As you probably know, it wouldn't have been beyond Hitchens to have made a remark that had a sexual connotation, even (or maybe especially) in a debate on religion. This remark seems somewhat ambiguous as it hovers on the threshold of what one might consider to be overtly sexual and what would pass for straightforward appreciation (albeit expressed ironically) - again, you might not find that so surprising; to an extent, he does this because he could; because he had a talent for it.
    In my view it's the 'husky' that pulls it towards the gutter as 'moist' on its own would most likely compute as dewy eyed or teary. 'Husky' as an adjective is most often associated with a certain depth and quality of voice, which is felt to be seductive, much like Hitchens' own voice in fact.
    There is also the potential for humour in the juxtaposition of the wet of 'moist' against the dry of 'husk' - only for the keen-eyed that one.
    Mostly I suspect that people were laughing out of a sense of slight fear and confusion arising from the ambiguous form of the remark - that coupled with the audience's knowledge of Hitchens' reputation as a hard man, one who could scarcely give a damn as to whether they clapped him or not.


    American English
    I essentially agree with Beryl, I think? :)

    Just my gut feeling is that it might well have a sexual connotation, given that it's Hitchens, and that the topic is "love". "moist" would invoke a sexual connotation, in my humble opinion, in American English. Hitchens did spend a lot of time in the USA, as far as I know.

    Anyway, it's marvelously ambiguous. Me likey. God rest his soul.

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I love Beryl's analysis, spot-on. I was sure it was sexual, and now I see that it would not be out of character for this speaker, even in this context. Thanks.


    Senior Member
    português, Brasil
    Usually I avoid posting and sending the thread to the top of the forum again just to say thank you as I find it a bit annoying to others, but this time I feel I have to. Very helpful and high-quality replies there. Thank you!

    God rest his soul.
    'No evidence or argument has yet been presented which would change my mind. But I like surprises.' :)


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I found this quotation that has nothing at all to do with Hitchens:

    "...Michal wrapped an arm around his middle, lightly pressing a kiss to the patch of skin underneath his collar. His voice, moist and husky, spoke of promises for later in the evening. "I thought you liked the color green..."

    It appears that heterosexuals have no specific claim to this phrase. And I think it is clearly in the verbal foreplay arena.
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