TribLIVE

| Opinion/The Review

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Torque, twerk or teatime?

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Oxford English Dictionary

Word Consideration Committee

Official Quarterly Meeting Transcript

Present: Committee Chairman Wilford Smythe-Hemsley, C. Edward Tuttleston, Hugh Crump IV, Danny Higgins and the Earl of Swinesforth.

Smythe-Hemsley: Cheerio, everyone. I hereby call this meeting to order. First order of business: Potential addition of words for our online edition. You know the rules — any nominee must be a term that recently has been absorbed by popular culture. Any of you gents care to submit a nomination?

Crump IV: What about “twerk”?

Tuttleston: Isn't that already a word meaning “a twisting force that tends to cause rotation”?

Higgins: Believe you're thinking of “torque,” guvnor.

Crump IV: Righto, Higgins. “Twerk” is a word that's the King's regal ring in America at the moment. Everyone's all abuzz because former Disney child star Miley Cyrus twerked during a performance at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday.

Tuttleston: That show was past my bedtime. Fill me in. What exactly did she do?

Crump IV: While onstage with another singer, Robin Thicke, Cyrus danced in a manner that strongly suggested she was committed to the idea of carrying Thicke's child.

Tuttleston: If I understand you correctly, then, she was dancing with a twisting force that tends to cause rotation. She was dancing with torque. She was torquing, not twerking.

Crump IV: They call it twerking in America, Tuttleston.

Earl of Swinesforth: I say, is it teatime yet?

Higgins: 'Fraid not, guvnor.

Smythe-Hemsley: If we do add “twerk,” to our online offerings, how do we define it?

Crump IV: I've come up with something that accurately conveys what Cyrus did and might go over well in the States. I'd like to define twerk as “when a hussy gets publicly funk-a-licious.”

(Long pause)

Smythe-Hemsley: No.

Tuttleston: Could we perhaps come up with a slightly more dignified definition?

Smythe-Hemsley: Perhaps we could define twerk as “dancing to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.”

Tuttleston: Ewww. No toast for me at teatime.

Crump IV: I'm fine with that definition, but I'm not sure it will catch on in America. It has no buzzword like “funk-a-licious.”

Tuttleston: I say, old chaps, aren't we trivializing words by adding to the dictionary every flavor-of-the-month slang term that comes along? Aren't we slowly but surely degrading the standards of the language that a dictionary should uphold?

(Long pause)

Higgins: Possibly. But you gotta stay contemporary, guvnor.

Crump IV: I make motion we add “twerk” to the Oxford online dictionary using Mr. Smythe-Hemsley's detailed definition.

Higgins: Second.

Smythe-Hemsley: All those in favor?

All: Aye (several reluctant sighs in the background).

Smythe-Hemsley: Next nomination?

Crump IV: What about that informal and laziest of text-messaging shorthand, “srsly.”

Tuttleston: “Srsly.” Seriously?

Earl of Swinesforth: I say, is it teatime yet?

Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7857 or eheyl@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Rossi: Nothing huge, but Huntington helped Bucs
  2. Marte’s 2 fine defensive plays rescue Pirates in victory over Reds
  3. Steelers OLB coach Porter teaches as passionately as he played
  4. Deadly snake bites on the rise in Western Pa.
  5. Pirates trade for Dodgers 1B/OF Morse, Mariners LHP Happ
  6. 2 killed in single-vehicle crash in Pittsburgh
  7. 2014 showing has Steelers RB Harris confident he belongs
  8. Inside The Steelers: LB Williams dominates backs-on-backers drill at Latrobe Memorial Stadium
  9. Hurdle: Soria likely to assume setup role with Watson
  10. Pittsburgh Police motorcycle officer seriously injured in crash
  11. Man shot Friday in Washington