Twerking enters Oxford English Dictionary


You’ve captured the OUP offices perfectly, Rob. How did you know?

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I must offer a correction. ‘Twerk’ is NOT in the Oxford English Dictionary. It’s in Oxford Dictionaries Online.

BBC made the error in their article in the headline and under-the-headline bit, but the rest of the article correctly identifies ODO, not OED. (It is, admittedly, a frequent source of confusion for many.)

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A few years ago “d’oh” was added to the OED. Even though there were examples of its usage dating back as far as 1945 Homer Simpson was cited as a primary influence in its addition. A few years after that “bootylicious”, with examples dating back to 1992, was added. The additions of “Twerk” and “selfie” seem merely to be another day at the office for the great old dictionary.

And it really shouldn’t come as a surprise given the OED 's early history and its association with madness.

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The dictionary contains other popular slang words, so it comes as no surprise to find twerk and selfie being added as well.

Thank you, Tavie. I have corrected the error in the headline.

Let it be known that we value accuracy and truthfulness here at Boing Boing.


After 15+ years of being a thing, whoda thunk all it took to get popular was having a young white girl do it?

I’m just sad that Suzanne Hadden Elgin’s definition never caught on. But then, if you’re twerking, it’s hard for other people to take what you say seriously. (Her definition: a quality in a speaker that detracts from the overall message; as in “Among her other twerks, her insistence in wearing a purple plush top hat and rabbit ears made Maybelle’s astute analysis of the local sewerage system difficult to follow in the hearing of the planning and zoning board.”)

This confusion surrounding the addition of “twerk” to the OED vs the ODO is widespread and has become its own news story:

don’t I know it!

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