Twerk, others added to Oxford English Dictionary

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED), on Thursday, added twerk, carnap, FLOTUS and scores of other new entries, including many introduced from Asia and from online slang, to its latest edition. OED Editor, Danica Salazar, said in London that the word twerk, a dance popularised by music stars and Internet memes, actually dated back about 200 years as a combination of twist and jerk first spelled as “twirk.’
He said the use of twerk to describe a type of dance, which emphasises the performer’s posterior, has its roots in the early 1990s in the New Orleans ‘bounce’ music scene. Salazar said the word itself seems to originate from more than 170 years before that.

He said another word from the Philippines was presidentiable, “a person who is a likely or confirmed candidate for president.” Salazar said throughout the years, Filipino English speakers have been adapting the vocabulary of this once foreign tongue, using it to express their own identity and way of life.

“Many additions refer to “specific elements of Philippine culture, such as greetings and terms of address. “The boundless optimism of Filipinos and their unshakeable belief that things will work out in their favour in the end is reflected in the phrase bahala na.”

Salazar said several other new entries are from South Asia and South-east Asia, where several hundred million people use English as a first or second language.

Katherine Martin, the OED’s Head of U.S. dictionaries speaking about the new development said some words and phrases are so well-used that their inclusion in the list of new entries was perhaps surprising. She identified them as dartboard, tan line, young gun, South Korean, North Korean, Special Olympics, and self-immolate.


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