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The 40-second scene from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy depicting a Baby Groot dancing to Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” is so adorable that it’s taken root in our hearts, leading to countless works of fan art, and the creation of little potted replicas, both official and … not.
But it also has introduced the world to a new word: grooting.
What’s grooting, you ask? Mutant 101 defines it as (ahem) a verb meaning, “to move tree-rhythmically to the Jackson 5,” as in “his arms grooted like branches in the wind”; or to “move in a quick and lively way.” Yes, tree-rhythmically. Urban Dictionary offers up “The act of spreading ones legs and bending the knees while slowly waving the arms to resemble baby Groot.” (I prefer the Mutant 101 definition; however, I maintain “grooted” sounds slightly obscene.)
If you require a demonstration, you need look no further than Guardians of the Galaxy, or the reenactment performed over the weekend at Wizard World Comic Con by stars Dave Bautista, reprising his role as Drax, and Michael Rooker, stepping into an enormous trashcan to play Baby Groot. (As this subsequent video shows, a laundry basket also works.) Rooker appears to have coined “grooting” himself during his convention appearance, a tidbit that should make work a little easier for Merriam-Webster editors when they get around to enshrining the word in the word in their dictionary.
Guardians director James Gunn, who created those tree-rhythmic moves, already used “grooting” on Facebook, and the term has proliferated as a hashtag on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and the latter’s imitators. And then this morning it appeared, in a slightly altered form, in the headline for Hypable’s Wizard World Chicago report, which acknowledged (with implied perplexity) that “‘Groot-ing’ is a thing.”
Indeed it is, although we may have to wait for Merriam-Webster to weigh on whether it’s with a hyphen or without.