Turns out the kids were all twerking in the 19th century...who knew?
In news that may disappointment Miley Cyrus fans the world over, the Oxford English Dictionary has sensationally revealed that the word ‘twerk’ actually pre-dates the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. In fact, the term goes back, way back, into the 19th century.
Defined as dancing ‘in a sexually provocative manner, using thrusting movements of the bottom and hips while in a low, squatting stance’, many have traditionally attributed ‘twerking’ to the early-1990s New Orleans ‘bounce’ music scene.
In fact, Oxford English Dictionary researchers have now discovered that the word was first used in 1820, spelt ‘twirk’, and amazingly actually means the same thing – it refers to ‘a jerking movement or twist’. Which, essentially means, the likes of Miley and Rihanna owe their killer moves to a group of jerking Victorians.
The verb re-emerged later in 1848 and the ‘twerk’ spelling – tabloid journalists the world over recognise today – was used by 1901.
Suffice to say even the experts at the Oxford English Dictionary were surprised. Fiona McPherson, senior editor of Oxford English Dictionary, reportedly said to the BBC: ‘We are confident that it is the same origins as the dance.
‘There has been constant use up into the present day to mean that same thing. I think it’s quite spectacular, the early origins for it. We were quite surprised.’
The news accompanies 500 new words this year which have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary, including: ‘Meh’, ‘e-cigarette’, ‘twitterati’, ‘fo’ shizzle’ and ‘half-ass’.
Even Michelle Obama will find herself in 2015’s edition as ‘FLOTUS’ makes its first appearance (meaning ‘the First Lady of the United States’).
Only time will tell how long it’ll take Miley Cyrus to champion a new move for the next MTV Awards. Afterall, turns out twerking is sooooo 1820s. Fo’ shizzle.