“Twerking”, the raunchy dance that set tongues wagging when enthusiastically performed by Miley Cyrus at the MTV awards, is one of the new terms to make the latest Oxford dictionary update.
The former Disney child star, now 20, left audience members gobsmacked when she bent over and gyrated provocatively with singer Robin Thicke on his song “Blurred Lines”.
The moves, borrowed from US hip-hop culture, have been colloquially known as twerking for around 20 years, but the term has now received official recognition after being included in the latest revision of Oxford Dictionaries Online, it revealed Wednesday.
“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,” explained Katherine Connor Martin, from Oxford Dictionaries Online.
“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.
“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.
Other new words recognised by the English language gatekeeper include “selfie”, for a self-photograph taken on a mobile phone, online currency “Bitcoin” and “hackerspace”.