Twerk? Victorians beat Miley to it...

“Twerk”, the word describing the dance popularised by Miley Cyrus, can be traced back to as early as 1820, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
Pop star Miley Cyrus hit the headlines for twerkingPop star Miley Cyrus hit the headlines for twerking
Pop star Miley Cyrus hit the headlines for twerking

The word is one of 500 new entries, including “twitterati” (describing users of the social media service), and “fo’ shizzle” (meaning “for sure”), added to the dictionary.

The Oxford English Dictionary records the meaning and development of the English language. For a word to qualify, it must have been in popular use for at least 10 years in both novels and newspapers.

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Twerking, which the dictionary describes as dancing “in a sexually provocative manner, using thrusting movements of the bottom and hips while in a low, squatting stance”, has its roots in the early 1990s New Orleans “bounce” music scene.

But research by the Oxford English Dictionary found it was first used as a noun in 1820, spelt “twirk”, to refer to a “twisting or jerking movement” or “twitch”. The verb is believed to have emerged later in 1848, and the “twerk” spelling was popularly used by 1901. While the exact origin of the word is uncertain, it may be a blend of the words twist or twitch, and jerk.

Fiona McPherson, senior editor of Oxford English Dictionary, said: “We are confident that it is the same origins as the dance.”

Twerking has infiltrated popular culture in recent years and hit the headlines after Miley Cyrus’s controversial MTV Video Music Awards performance in 2013.

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The word first entered the online Oxford dictionary, which recognises popular usage of words, in 2013.

“Meh”, an interjection expressing lack of enthusiasm, has also been included in the latest Oxford English Dictionary. The word is believed to have been first used in 1992, before being popularised by cult TV cartoon The Simpsons.

Ms McPherson said the new entries had “earned their place” in the history of the English language.


New words list June 2015

arré, int.

audax, n.

autotune, v.

autotuned, adj.

backronym, n.

bahala na, int.

balikbayan, n.

baon, n.

barangay, n.

barkada, n.

barong tagalog, n.

barong, n.

baro’t saya, n.

batchmate, n.

bhelpuri, n.

biomethane, n.

birdhouse, n.

blazar, n.

blue star, n. and adj.

bluff charge, n.

bluff-charge, v.

bluff-charging, n.

Blu-ray, n.

boiler room, n.

brûlée, n.

brûlée, v.

bukkake, n.

buko, n.

camming, n.

carcade, n.

carnap, v.

carnapper, n.

carnapping, n.

chiffonade, v.

chiffonaded, adj.

choss, n.

chossy, adj.

Christianist, n. and adj.

churidar, n.

cisgender, adj. and n.

cluster, n.

coasteering, n.

colourism | colorism, n.

comedize, v.

comedogenic, adj.

comedy of errors, n.

comigrate, v.

comix, n.

coreferential, adj.

crokinole, n.

crowdfund, v.

crowdfunded, adj.

crowdfunding, n.

cyclogenesis, n.

cyclosportive, n.

dartboard, n.

decidualization, n.

decidualized, adj.

decim, n.2

decision, v.

declutter, n.

declutter, v.

decluttering, n.

depanneur, n.

despedida, n.

dhaba, n.

diabulimia, n.

dog whistle, n.

double-double, n.

downtick, n.

drumble, n.1

drumbling, adj.1

drumette, n.

e-cig, n.

e-cigarette, n.

ecotown, n.

e-edition, n.

eh up, n. and int.

eliminationism, n.

eliminationist, n. and adj.

emerg, n.

Enviropig, n.

epazote, n.

Eris, n.

e-skin, n.

estafa, n.

e-toll, n.

externship, n.

fap fap fap, int.

fap, v.

fava, n.

federal fund, n.

feed-in, adj. and n.

flocculant, adj. and n.


forensic science, n.

forensics, n.

fratty, adj.

freegan, adj. and n.

Furol, n. (and adj.)

ganache, n.

gharara, n.

ghrelin, n.

go fish, n.

goey, adj.

go-for-broke, adj.

go-for-it, adj.

go-harvest, n.

going away, adv.

going-about, adj.

gointer, v.

go-juice, n.

gon, v.

gone away, int. and n.

gowa, v.

Gran Fondo, n.

grow-op, n.

gunna, v.

H2O, n.

half-ass, v.

halo-halo, n.

handsy, adj.

har de har, int. (and n.)

hard launch, n.

hard launch, v.

hard plastic, n.

hard rocker, n.2

hard-arse, adv., adj., and n.

hard-arsed, adj.

hardbill, adj. and n.

hard-bodied, adj.

hard-code, v.

hard-coded, adj.

hardenable, adj.

hardrocker, n.1

hardship, v.

hardware woman, n.

hardwire, adj.

hardwiring, n.

hardyhead, n.

Hardy-Weinberg, n.

heterokont, n. and adj.

hex, n.4

Homo economicus, n.

hot mess, n.

howay, int.

hyperlocal, adj.

hyphy, adj. and n.

incharge, n.

injera, n.

interleading, adj.

internal membrane, n.

internalism, n.

internalist, n. and adj.

Internaut, n.

internegative, n.

interpositive, n.2

intersectionality, n.

Interweb, n.

inukshuk, n.

jank, adj.

JavaScript, n.

jeggings, n.

kettlebell, n.

kikay, n. and adj.

KKB, int. (and adj.)

koozie, n.

kryptonite, n.

kuya, n.

lede, n.2

mabuhay, int.

mahala, adv. and adj.

Mamil, n.

mangia-cake, n.

Marco Polo, n.

Masshole, n.

meh, int. and adj.

merry-go-around, n.

mini-stroke, n.

Morgellons, n.

nanodiamond, n.

nanosized, adj.

netbook, n.2

North Korean, adj. and n.

off-grid, adj. and adv.

old-earth, adj.

onsight, v.

on-trend, adj. and adv.

oophagy, n.

pageview, n.

pan de sal, n.

papsak, n.

pasalubong, n.

pharmacovigilance, n.

photobomb, n.

photobomb, v.

photobomber, n.

photobombing, n.

presidentiable, n.

pulutan, n.

ranga, n.

redpoint, n.

redpoint, v.

redpointing, n.

restobar, n.

retweet, n.

retweet, v.

retweeting, n.

roastery, n.

sanger, n.

sari-sari store, n.

say-away, n.

SCBU, n.

scenarioist, n.

scene, v.

scent mark, n.

scent marking, n.

scent-mark, v.


seachanger, n.

self-immolate, v.

Seppo, n.

sext, n.2

sext, v.

sexting, n.

sharara, n.

Sharon fruit, n.

ship, n.3

ship, v.2

shipper, n.2

shipping, n.2

shirtfront, v.

shitshow, n.

shizzle, adj.

shizzle, int. and n.

sinigang, n.

skort, n.

sledge, n.3

sledge, v.3

sledger, n.3

smash-mouth, n. and adj.

South Korean, adj. and n.

Special Olympics, n.

special operation, n.

sportive, n.2

stagette, n.

standard issue, n. and adj.

stank, adj.2 and n.2

stanky, adj.

staycation, n.

stir-fry, n.

storyboard, v.

storyboarding, n.

suki, n.

sunchoke, n.

sures, n.

syst., n.

systylious, adj.

tan line, n.

tea partier, n.

tenderpreneur, n.

texta, n.

tik, n.

to-go, adj.

top-rope, v.

totes, adv. and int.

town camp, n.

tweeting, n.

twerk, n.

twerk, v.

twerking, adj.

twerking, n.

twitterati, n.

uber-, prefix

ubiquinol, n.

uncanny valley, n.

unconventional, adj.

underdaks, n.

unna, int.

us mob, pron.

utang na loob, n.

vape, v.

vaper, n.

vaping, n.

vog, n.

voluntourism, n.

voluntourist, n.

webisode, n.

whoonga, n.

wuss, v.

yaar, n.

yarn bomb, n.

yarn bomb, v.

yarn bombing, n.

yarnstorm, n.

yarnstorm, v.

Yooper, n.

young at heart, adj. and n.

Young dewberry, n.

young gun, n.

young-earth, adj.

zama zama, n.

zef, adj.

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