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'Twerking' bounces into Oxford dictionary

London - Twerking, the rump-busting up-and-down dance move long beloved on Americas hip-hop scene, has officially gone mainstream. Its got the English dictionary entry to prove it.

Britains Oxford Dictionaries said the rapid-fire gyrations employed by U.S. pop starlet Miley Cyrus to bounce her way to the top of the charts had become increasingly visible in the past 12 months and would be added to its publications under the entry: Twerk, verb.

Although Cyruss eye-popping moves at Mondays MTV Video Music Awards may have been many viewers first introduction to the practice, Oxford Dictionaries Katherine Connor Martin said twerking was some two decades old.

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.

Twerk will be added to the dictionary as part of its quarterly update, which includes words such as selfie, the word typically used to describe pouty smartphone self-portraits, digital detox for time spent way from Facebook and Twitter, and Bitcoin, for the nationless electronic currency whose gyrations have also caught the worlds eye.

Oxford Dictionaries is responsible for a range of reference works, including Oxford Dictionaries Online, which focuses on modern usage, and the historically-focused Oxford English Dictionary, which probably wont be adding twerk to its venerable pages any time soon.

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

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


BROOKLYN, NY - AUGUST 10: Girls twerk onstage during the performance of Major Lazer Mad Decent Block Party at Williamsburg Park on August 10, 2013 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Roger Kisby/Getty Images)



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