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Quarterly dictionary update includes twerking

Graeme Parton

The constant evolution of the English language dictates that new words must be introduced in an official  manner on a regular basis, with addition announcements often causing a bit of a stir. The latest has definitely been no exception.

The most high-profile change has come in the form of ‘twerking’, a word which has been commonly used in hip hop circles for some time to describe a raunchy dance move. The term has undoubtedly become more widely used over the last 12 months, however.

The word has received a lot of attention in the last week alone, after controversial US pop-star Miley Cyrus performed the dance in front of millions at the recent MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs).

Speaking about twerking, the Oxford Dictionary’s Katherine Connor Martin, said:

“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.

“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.”

Joining twerk on the list are ‘selfie’ – which describes the act of taking a picture of oneself – and omnishambles, which was recognised by the Oxford Dictionary as the word of 2012.

Omnishambles can be used to refer to a situation which can be seen as shambolic from every angle and was invented four years ago by the BBC writers working on satirical show The Thick of It.

For those looking to create quality content for consumers and even other businesses, it really does pay to be on top of the latest terms. In order to engage with internet users, it’s vital to meet on the same level and, depending on the audience, using such words can help massively.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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