This week, the BBC posted a news tidbit announcing that "twerking," among a few other suspicious words (including "selfie," "omnishambles," and "dappy") have been introduced to the Oxford Dictionaries Online, making them legitimate fixtures of the English language. [Editor's note: Oxford Dictionaries Online and the Oxford English Dictionary are not the same thing. Oxford University Press clarifies the difference here].
The BBC article states: "Twerking, the raunchy dance move performed by Miley Cyrus at the MTV VMAs is among the new words added to the Oxford Dictionary of English."
From there, the article goes on to say:
"Katherine Connor Martin from Oxford Dictionaries said the word twerk had been known colloquially in US hip hop culture for around 20 years.
"By last year, it had generated enough currency to be added to our new words watch list, and by this spring, we had enough evidence of usage frequency in a breadth of sources to consider adding it to our dictionaries of current English," she said.
"The current public reaction to twerking is reminiscent in some ways of how the twisting craze was regarded in the early 1960s, when it was first popularised by Chubby Checker's song, The Twist," she added. Read the full article here.
Head over to Oxford Dictionaries Online and there it is:
[no object] informal
dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance:
just wait till they catch their daughters twerking to this song
twerk it girl, work it girl
Origin: 1990s: probably an alteration of work
So to set the record straight, twerking is probably descended from West African Mapouka dancing, and in the States artists have been shouting out "twerk" as far back as DJ Jubilee's mid-'90s NOLA bounce number "Do The Jubilee All." But can we please just take a second to recognize that our hometown boys Kaine and D-Roc of Ying Yang Twins have pretty much owned the term since way back in 2000, when "Whistle While You Twurk" showed up on the album Thug Walkin'?
Miley Cyrus indeed.
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