‘Twerking’ shakes its way into the Oxford dictionary

Twerking was already the word on many people’s lips after Miley Cyrus’ hip-gyrating performance at the MTV VMAs on Sunday set the world’s tongues wagging. But now the rump-grinding dance move has officially entered the mainstream, after shaking its way into the bastion of English language that is the Oxford Dictionary.

The word will appear under the entry “Twerk, verb.” The dictionary's latest addition is in response to the recent prominence of the dance move after a string of high-profile stars have been seen performing the move. But while its appearance on the celebrity circuit will be, for many of us, our first introduction to the sexually-explicit dance, Oxford Dictionaries’ Katherine Connor Martin told reporters that "twerking" was, in fact, almost two decades old.

"There are many theories about the origin of this word, and since it arose in oral use, we may never know the answer for sure," she told reporters in the U.K. "We think the most likely theory is that it is an alteration of work, because that word has a history of being used in similar ways, with dancers being encouraged to 'work it.' The 't' could be a result of blending with another word such as twist or twitch."

The official definition of the word in the latest version of the Oxford Dictionary will read: "Twerk, v.: dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance."

It’s not the only new word that is being added to upcoming editions. Alongside the Miley-inspired dance move, other new entries include:

  • Selfie, n. (informal): a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

  • Vom: v. & n. informal: (be) sick; vomit

  • Food baby, n.: a protruding stomach caused by eating a large quantity of food and supposedly resembling that of a woman in the early stages of pregnancy.

  • Double denim, n.: a style of dress in which a denim jacket or shirt is worn with a pair of jeans or a denim skirt, often regarded as a breach of fashion etiquette.

  • Geek chic, n.: the dress, appearance, and culture associated with computing and technology enthusiasts, regarded as stylish or fashionable.

Do you think "twerk" should have been added to the dictionary? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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