Twerk it, girl. …all the way into the dictionary.

“I’ve got such a food baby after devouring those cake pops–I’d srsly vom if I tried to twerk like Miley right now.”
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Excuse the gross visual, ladies, but admit it–you’ve heard similar enough. What we didn’t bargain for is seeing words like “twerk,” “food baby,” “srsly,” “vom,” and “cake pop” in writing…and in the dictionary.

That’s right: Gems like “twerk, verb” are among the latest entries to the Oxford Dictionaries Online. But don’t give Miley’s VMA performance all the credit; “twerking,” for one, is two decades old, according to Oxford Dictionaries’ Katherine Connor Martin.

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,” Martin said. “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 definition (if “to molest Robin Thicke onstage” doesn’t suffice)? “Dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and low, squatting stance.”

But wait, it gets better. The fashion-foward will be pleased to know that “pixie cuts,” “double denim,” “chandelier earrings,” “selfie,” and “jorts” made the cut (we’ll forgive that last one). As for those techy buzzwords you dish out but don’t actually understand–”phablet,” “bitcoin,” “hackerspace,” “Internet of things”–they’re all in there, too.

As copy editors everywhere continue to cringe, one important distinction: Though this lingo can now be found in the Oxford Dictionaries Online, which focuses on modern usage, you probably won’t see “emoji” gracing the pages of the more historical Oxford English Dictionary (i.e. that hunk collecting dust on your childhood bookshelf).

And with that–apols, ladies, but it’s me time.


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