Torque, twerk or teatime?
By Eric Heyl
Published: 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.”
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?
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers bring back long snapper Warren, lineman Wallace
- Surveillance cameras stop working after Pittsburgh fails to pay bill
- Orpik rises to occasion as Penguins take down Capitals once again
- Allegheny Co. DA criticizes Peduto administration over info released in E. Liberty murder case
- Panthers free agent safety headed to Steelers
- Penguins notebook: Letang skating, but no return set
- 2 NYC buildings collapse in explosion; 2 dead
- Figure skating coach dies in crash at Washington County Airport
- Elizabeth Forward school director accused in coin, jewelry theft
- Philadelphia senator accused of using state employees for campaign
- Police charge Westmoreland County priest in $124,000 theft case