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Oxford English Dictionary unearths two century old twerking reference

Twerking, the act of dancing in a sexually provocative manner, may have only entered the popular lexicon as recently as 2013, following some arresting moves by singer Miley Cyrus but the act itself dates back much further, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Linguists tracing the evolution of the word found it amongst 500 new additions to an 1820 edition of the tome, when editors inserted the word ‘twirk’ in reference to a twist, jerk or twist.

From there the verb emerged in 1848 before evolving to the ‘twerk’ spelling we are familiar with today in 1901.

Fiona McPherson, senior editor of Oxford English Dictionary, said: "We are confident that it is the same origins as the dance.

"There has been constant use up into the present day to mean that same thing. I think it's quite spectacular, the early origins for it. We were quite surprised."

It is believed that the characteristic squatting stance and thrusting hips has its origins in the 1990’s New Orleans ’bounce’ music scene but the precise origin of ‘twerk’ remains lost to history.

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