‘Twerking’ makes the Oxford dictionary

Miley Cyrus twerks at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night.
(Scott Gries / Invision / Associated Press)

If you were scandalized by Miley Cyrus’ performance Sunday at the VMAs, get ready to have your shock codified in the English language.

Oxford Dictionaries Online has formally announced that it’s adding “twerking” as the newest verb to its ledger, as part of its quarterly update to its online resources.

The formal definition? “Twerk, v.: dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.”


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It joins other pop-culture effluvia like “selfie,” “derp,” “digital diet” and “Bitcoin” as new additions to the palette of modern language in the online edition.

“Twerking” hasn’t made the venerable Oxford English Dictionary print edition yet. That’s a privilege reserved for more established turns of phrase.

But nothing is more ratchet than making the cut at the formal registry of how we speak English, so congratulations are due all around, we suppose. Good work, Anglophone nations. Good work.


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