Miley Cyrus did it, Lily Allen refused to do it, one London gym started offering lessons in it. And on Tuesday twerking – the frenetic, buttock-wiggling dance – also topped Google's list of the trends that Britons were trying to discover the meaning of online this year.
Essentially, a lot of people had no idea what it was and at some point during the year decided they had better find out – firing 'what is twerking?' to the top of one of Google's annual Zeitgeist lists.
The UK list of searches also revealed that the country was trying to find out about the fitness craze Zumba, and asking what "YOLO" means.
Paul Walker, the Fast and Furious actor who died in a car crash in late November, was top of the UK's general search list, above iPhone 5S and royal baby.
The report into the country's most searched-for terms for 2013, as well as the most commonly asked questions, also included "how to lose weight", "how to get a flat stomach" and "how to dip dye hair".
There was, as ever, huge interest in celebrities, with socialite and reality TV star Kim Kardashian leading the celebrity list this year, closely followed by One Direction, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Kate Middleton – but in seventh place, just after Taylor Swift, was a perhaps more surprising appearance from journalist Martin Lewis, whose Money Saving Expert site dispenses financial advice.
Gareth Bale was named the most Googled footballer.
Google's search tool is used by an estimated 89% of the UK's web users. Information from every query is stored by the company, building up a vast bank of data detailing the interests, preoccupations and trends of the online population.
The company has been releasing its annual analysis of the most popular search terms since 2001, when Nokia topped the list of consumer brands and tennis star Anna Kournikova was the most searched-for sports personality. Since then, it's charted the rise and fall of Myspace and the rise and rise of the iPhone.
But much of list remains predictable. "It really does appear that the search patterns don't deviate," says Andy Przybylski, a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute.
"The names of the famous male athletes may change, or the celebrities that people follow, but there's nothing here that says that the way that humans are interacting with their technology is changing.
"Those massive shifts from desktop to mobile aren't making people seek out different information. It just means that instead of it being Superstorm Sandy, this year it's Typhoon Haiyan."
The most searched-for films in 2013 were superhero movies, with Man of Steel and Iron Man 3 jostling for the top spot. The most searched-for children's film in the top 10 was Despicable Me 2, in fourth place, while The Hangover Part III scrapes in as the highest-ranking comedy in 10th.
The popularity of these films in searches reflects marketing momentum as much as likely award winners, said Przybylski.
A fascination with death is evident throughout, dominating the general search list in particular. As well as Paul Walker in the top spot, there was Cory Monteith, the Glee star who overdosed in July, at number four; Nelson Mandela at number six; and Margaret Thatcher at number nine.
"Celebrities always get a lot of interest and the passing of well-known figures makes people want to learn more about them," said Google UK's Claudine Beaumont. "Despite that, some of the more traditional aspects of British life, from the Grand National to the royal birth, have generated many Google searches and will be remembered as events that have characterised the year."
But the official Zeitgeist lists present a slightly cleaner view of our collective conscious than the actual reality, with porn-related searches cut out and predictive search pushing people towards the most popular results.
"If you look at raw search results you see a much wider range of the human experience," said Przybylski. "There's no darker side of human nature stuff here.
"There's definitely an aggregation step in terms of how people spell, how people search, and the fullness of language in the search."
And for anyone still not sure about twerking, it refers to "a type of dancing in which the dancer, usually a woman, shakes her hips in an up-and-down bouncing motion, causing the dancer's buttocks to shake, 'wobble' and 'jiggle'".
Zumba is defined as "an aerobic fitness programme featuring movements inspired by various styles of Latin American dance", and YOLO is an acronym for "you only live once".
Top trending "What is?" searches
1.What is twerking
2.What is my IP
3.What is YOLO
4.What is a prime number
5.What is illuminati
6.What is my car worth
7.What is spooning
8.What is global warming
9.What is zumba
10. What is the meaning of life
Top trending general searches in the UK
10. Xbox One
Top trending general searches globally
8Samsung Galaxy S4
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
Have something to tell us about this article?