The work "twerk" was just added to Oxford Dictionaries Online Wednesday, just as Miley Cyrus caused an uproar at the VMAs Sunday night with her raunchy twerking performance of "Blurred Lines" with Robin Thicke. But MTV, who put on the Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, claims Miley Cyrus had nothing to do with twerk being added to the web-based dictionary on Aug. 28.
Oxford Dictionaries Online, (ODO), added a whole new batch of popular slang words to its latest edition yesterday, including the now infamous twerk.
According to a representative from the ODO, which is not to be confused with the historical printed Oxford English Dictionary, the "immortalization and legitimization" of the word had nothing to do with the 20-year-old former Disney star.
The Head of US Dictionaries, Katherine Connor Martin, told MTV News that the words added Wednesday to the online version of the dictionary were decided on months ahead of publication.
Martin explained that a few factors are taken into account in determining whether a new word will be added to the ODO. Frequency of use is one of the most important.
But other factors play a part as well. The editors also has a watch list of words they've identified as being new and noteworthy. "We assess those for frequency and also for a breadth of usage", Martin said.
ODO's definition of twerk, is written as a verb meaning to, "dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance".
Twerking has been around for 20 years now, but it's likely a lot of folks didn't know what it meant until Miley Cyrus' version Sunday night.