Twerking, Selfie, Food Baby Make Oxford English Dictionary

,Dance To Popular Music In A Sexually Provocative Manner

It made headline news across the world, and caused a storm on Twitter, but now twerking is assured of its place in history.

The raunchy dance performed by Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards, is among a slew of new terms included in an update of the Oxford dictionary.

The move, which the US singer and actress showed off with the help of singer Robin Thicke, has been included in the latest revision of Oxford Dictionaries Online.

Miley Cyrus performs at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday

New technology has also provided a large number of new words and phrases for the site, including "selfie" for a camera-phone self-portrait, "digital detox" for time spent offline, the online currency Bitcoin, the shopping phrase "click and collect" and "hackerspace".

Katherine Connor Martin, from Oxford Dictionaries Online, said "twerk" was around 20 years old and seemed to have been coined as part of the "bounce" hip-hop scene in the United States.

"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.

"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.

"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 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.

"Only time will tell if twerking will similarly be embraced by the general public."

The dance style's listing reads: "The twerk, v.: dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance."

Twenty-year-old Cyrus, who first rose to fame as the lead in Disney children's show Hannah Montana, made headlines with the risque performance in a nude PVC bikini at the awards in New York on Sunday.

The show saw her perform a medley of her party song We Can't Stop and Thicke's summer hit Blurred Lines while twerking furiously with the singer-songwriter.

Cyrus, whose father is 1990s country star Billy Ray Cyrus, scored her first UK number one single with We Can't Stop earlier this month.

The quarterly update for the site also includes words from the worlds of food and drink and fashion.

From the former come "street food", "pear cider" and the result of too much of both - the swollen gut known as a "food baby".

From the latter comes "double denim" and "geek chic".


Twerk, v.: dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.

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.

Bitcoin,n.: a digital currency in which transactions can be performed without the need for a central bank.

Digital detox,n.: a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.

Click and collect, n.: a shopping facility whereby a customer can buy or order goods from a store's website and collect them from a local branch.

Hackerspace, n.: a place in which people with an interest in computing or technology can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge.

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.

Street food, n.: prepared or cooked food sold by vendors in a street or other public location for immediate consumption.

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.


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