The Oxford English Dictionary Added "Hot Mess" And "Twerk," Along With 11 Other Words All The Cool Kids Use These Days
Are you tired of hearing about twerking yet? Me too, but considering that the Oxford English Dictionary just added "twerk" to its archives, I doubt we're going to be hearing the end of it anytime soon. The OED (which is different from the more casual Oxford Dictionaries, which added "twerking" in 2013) is adding a whole host of new words this month, and as a result, we have the pleasure of reading the driest, most professional definitions of words like "hot mess" and "sexting" possible. It's truly an achievement.
As TIME points out, one of the dictionary's many duties is research into the history of current words and phrases, and some of the origins may surprise you. Did you know, for instance, that "twerk" dates all the way back to 1820? In the modern day, of course, it conjures up an image of Miley Cyrus or Rihanna, but back then, it was spelled like "twirk" and referred to a "twisting or jerking movement."
It's easy to see how that particular phrase ended up with its current definition of "a sexually provocative dance or dance move involving thrusting movements of the bottom and hips while in a low, squatting stance," but others are a little more obscure. "Hot mess," for instance, used to mean "a warm meal, esp. one served to a group," according to its brand spankin' new entry; these days, however, it means "something or someone in extreme confusion or disorder," which explains a lot about why my color guard instructor used to scream it at me from the sidelines during practice.Hey, I never claimed to be coordinated, just enthusiastic. There are more than 500 new entries to the dictionary, according to The Guardian, but don't feel too "meh" about it — I went through the list so you don't have to. With that, I present to you the best of the OED's new words:
Surprisingly, the counterpart of "transgender" wasn't listed in the OED until now. It's officially defined as "designating someone whose sense of personal identity corresponds to the sex and gender assigned to him or her at birth; of or relating to such persons."
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Definition: A "cigarette-shaped device containing a nicotine-based liquid or other substance that is vaporised and inhaled, used to simulate the experience of smoking," a.k.a. every hipster's favorite smoking trend.
Definition: "The First Lady of the United States." (Duh.)
Definition: "Fear of missing out."
5. Fo' Shizzle
Definition: "In the language of rap and hip-hop this means 'for sure.'"
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Definition: "Trousers with the stretch of leggings, but the appearance of jeans."
Definition: "Term of contempt for a native or inhabitant of the state of Massachusetts." It's frequently used when encountering a Massachusetts driver.
Definition: "Used to signal lack of enthusiasm, or a state of boredom. Popularised by The Simpsons in the 1990s."
Definition: "A sexually explicit or suggestive message or image sent electronically, typically using a mobile phone."
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Definition: "A person who discusses, portrays, or advocates a romantic pairing of two characters who appear in a work of (serial) fiction, esp. when such a pairing is not depicted in the original work."
Definition: "Tourism in which travellers spend time doing voluntary work on development projects, usually for a charity."