One of the more hilarious aspects of the deeply stupid fallout from Miley Cyrus‘ VMAs performance is the amount of hand ringing, pearl clutching and declarations that “the world is going to end” from otherwise reasonable people–as if Miley Cyrus is the first pop star to behave in a sexual manner.
She’s not, of course, though she could be partly responsible for bringing the term twerk to the masses (or, at least, Fox News’ demo). She certainly didn’t invent twerking, but she sure does love doing it. By herself. On stage. Inside Robin Thicke.
What with the word appearing in roughly half of this week’s headlines, it seems like a very appropriate time for it to land in the Oxford Dictionary’s quarterly update–but OD rep Katherine Connor Martin reminds us the term is roughly 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.”
While, again, Miley Cyrus didn’t invent twerking, she just mainstreamed it a little more (whitewashed, if you will)–this news will probably keep her the target of lots of bitching and moaning about the future of humanity (just remember that people said the exact same shit when Bootylicious was added).
As for that definition:
Twerk, v.: dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.
In a much clearer sign of the apocalypse, however, “selfie” will also be added.