What’s the Difference Between ‘Tweakers’, ‘Tweak’ and ‘Twerk’?

Today you’ll learn easily confused English slang phrases, and the quintessential 1960’s counter-culture film.

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Vocabulary

Tweak- (noun and verb) change slightly

We use this a lot!

So, if you’re looking at a presentation with a colleague, and want to make some small changes, you could say, ‘I think we should tweak this to make it more direct.’


It’s an old word, from the 15th century. Back then, it meant to pinch, and, today, it can still have that meaning.

Only in the 1980’s did it take on its current meaning of to change slightly. source

Tweaker- person who is on stimulants, like meth or crack (You can also call those people meth heads or crackheads.)

I couldn’t find the exact origin story of this word, but, apparently, meth used to be called ‘tweak’.

Plus, tweak is also very close to the word ‘twitch’, which, when people are using these substances, they can get pretty twitchy.

If someone is doing drugs like this, we can say they are ‘tweaked out on…’.

We also use these terms to good-naturedly make fun of friends, like, if someone is acting jumping or unnecessarily anxious, you can tell them to stop tweaking.

Twerk- name for modern booty dance

This became a popular term and dance move around 2010.

Shockingly, it was first used in the 1800’s, to describe a twisting or jerking motion. So, ‘twist’ + ‘jerk’ = ‘twerk’!

Unfortunately, I see a lot of tweakers in Portland. Meth is super common all over the States now, and you’ll see tweakers everywhere, from small towns to big cities like this.

They’re usually harmless, though, as they are super focused on whatever drug illusion they’ve concocted in their tweaker brains.

Comment on this video! Had you heard the word ‘tweaker’ before? Are you able to ‘twerk’?

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Pop Culture R&R

Drugs have long been part of our pop culture, really exploding in the 1960’s.

A classic cinematic example of this is Easy Rider, starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and a young Jack Nicholson. It was actually directed by Dennis Hopper as well.

It came out in 1969. Height of the hippies and rock and roll. This movie is and always will be a classic, and it won tons of awards when it came out. Plus, if you like classic rock like I do, the soundtrack is to die for.

So, Hopper and Fonda are two hippies who ride Harleys. They do a cocaine deal in California, take that money, and travel across America on their bikes. They meet tons of people along the way, like small town racists and like-minded souls wanted to break out of mainstream culture.

Here’s the trailer:

Questions about my life or the English language? Ask me in the comments section below!