Twerking enters Oxford Dictionary

The rooms are neither as dusty, nor as bald of sound, as one might imagine the cloisters of the Oxford English Dictionary. There are no books piled in the cracked tile hallways, no atmospheric beams of light angling into the tranquil gloom. No old clunking timepiece marks the infinitude of time.

Yet this place--and those who study within it--are older than most of us can imagine. Today they were gathered, as they are but once a year, in solemn manifestation of their immortal calling. In the cloisters' largest and deepest chamber, the Council of New Words assembled to determine what coinages should enter The Dictionary. Seated in neat semicircular rows, they gazed at a television, placed where the speaker's lectern usually stood.

The video recording was short, perhaps a minute long, played in an endless loop. But they stared for hours, speechless, transfixed. A hundred faces lit by the cold, flickering phosphors of metamodernity. A leering tongue. A gyrating arse.

An explanation.

Some were horrified by what they saw. Some were enchanted. Others studied it impassively. Many felt the fleeting impression of Change, the heart of their calling, that which disturbs the will of Ankou. And all of them--the youngest among them celebrated her 146th birthday in July--were wise.

When the vote was called, there was only a single abstention.

'Twerking' and 'selfie' added to Oxford dictionary [BBC]

Notable Replies

  1. Tavie says:

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

  2. Tavie says:

    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.)

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

Continue the discussion bbs.boingboing.net

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