Each year, lovers of letters (and Scrabble players!) eagerly await the announcement of the Oxford English Dictionary Word Of The Year. Last year’s monumental word was ‘selfie’, so expectations were accordingly very high when it came to this year’s choice. And the folks over at Oxford haven’t disappointed us…
The Oxford University Press has named “vape” as 2014’s Word of The Year. The word is used to describe the act of using a vaporiser, or e-cigarette, in place of smoking. And, according to Oxford, evidence of the word’s adoption is extraordinary.
“You are 30 times more likely to come across the word ‘vape’ than you were two years ago, and usage has more than doubled in the past year,” the Oxford staff editors wrote. The addition highlights a growing trend in the market. Each year, thousands of people are converting to the new technology and taking up the new lingo associated with it.
But the term ‘vape’ has had quite a colourful past: it first appeared, in its proper context, in a 1983 New Society magazine piece, and since 2009 has been commonly used in discussions of the merits of the technology. And in ‘stoner’ circles, the term vape has been used for years (almost as long as vaporisers themselves).
Officially, Oxford has defined the phenomenon as follows: “to inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device”. Editors noted the versatility of the word, adding that the term can be used as either a noun describing the act of vaporising (as in, ‘Let’s do a vape!’) and the device itself (as in, ‘Dude, where my vape?’).
Other contenders on this year’s short list included “bae” (a shortened pet name for a significant other), “budtender” (a server of marijuana through a dispensary or café) and online buzz-word “slacktivism”, a deft union of slacker and activism that describes the lazy support of good causes.
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