What is twerking and why won't Courier-Post columnist Danny Henley be doing it?
Like many writers, I find myself walking a fine line when it comes to word usage. Should I use a complex word or phrase when something simpler could be used?
A case in point, a former Courier-Post publisher objected to my use of the phrase “mill and overlay” when writing about street/highway projects. Consequently, in subsequent stories I would explain that the city or MoDOT was preparing to “remove the old driving surface (mill) and repave it (overlay).”
And while simpler terms are typically best used, that doesn’t mean I’m not open to adding new words to my vocabulary arsenal. That’s why I’m always interested in the latest words that have been added to the Oxford Dictionaries.
Here are some of the latest words that were added last month:
Jorts - shorts made of denim fabric. (In my day they were called cutoffs.)
Emojis - a small digital image or icon used to express an idea, emotion, etc., in electronic communication. (Think smiley face in an e-mail).
Selfie - pouty self-portrait typically taken with a smartphone. (Talk to my teen-age daughter.)
Dappy - silly, disorganized or lacking concentration. (Close cousin to an “airhead.”)
Digital detox - time spent away from Facebook and Twitter. (What about e-mail?)
Girl crush - an intense and typically non-sexual admiration felt by one girl for another. (Not qualified to comment.)
Vom - to be sick. (I’m thinking created by someone so busy throwing up he or she couldn’t get the word “vomit” out.)
Food babies - a protruding stomach caused by eating a large quantity of food and supposedly resembling that of a woman in the early stages of pregnancy. (Please don’t ask when I’m due.)
Fauxhawk - a hairstyle in which a section of hair running from the front to the back of the head stands erect, intended to resemble a Mohawk haircut. (A waste of good hair.)
Geek chic - the dress, appearance, and culture associated with computing and technology enthusiasts, regarded as stylish or fashionable. (More than a pocket protector.)
Phablet - a smartphone having a screen which is intermediate in size between that of a typical smartphone and a tablet computer. (Don’t have one. Probably never will.)
Babymoon - a relaxing or romantic vacation taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born. ((I thought it was what you got when a toddler lost its diaper while bending over.)
Twerk - To dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and low squatting stance.
While I didn’t see it, an example of “twerking” was recently given by former Disney child star, Miley Cyrus, during MTV’s Video Music Awards show.
It just seems like yesterday I was coming home from work to find my daughter, Anna, watching Cyrus, then known as Hannah Montana, on the Disney Channel.
Now 20-year-old Cyrus wants to show the world that, for better or worse, she’s “grown up.” That’s what prompted the scantily-clad Cyrus performed a couple of tongue-wagging, foam-finger-waving “twerk” dances before millions of viewers.
While Cyrus may have brought the word “twerk” to the forefront, according to Oxford Dictionaries, the term “twerking” actually originated in the ‘90s, back when Cyrus was a little girl and “twerking” might have resulted in her being spanked.
Oxford Dictionaries’ Katherine Connor Martin said “twerking” is most likely “an alteration of work, because that word has a history of being used in similar ways, with dancers being encouraged to ‘work it.’”
“The ‘t’ could be a result,” she added, “of blending with another word such as twist or twitch.”
“Twerk” is certainly a word I’ll rarely, if ever, use and an act I’ll never perform, even in the privacy of my own home. Why? I know how long it takes old muscles to heal. Plus even if I were limber enough to “twerk,” what male wants to hear his wife laughing hysterically at him?