Oxford Dictionaries announced - VAPE is the Word of the Year 2014!
“As 2014 draws to a close, it’s time to look back and see which words have been significant throughout the past twelve months, and to announce the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year. Without further ado, we can exclusively reveal that the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2014 is….vape”
A well-chosen word of the year tells us something about the cultural conversation over the past 12 months. According to Oxford Dictionaries, usage of the word "vape" spiked in April 2014 when New York City banned indoor vaping and the UK opened it's first vape cafe “ The Vape Lab” in London, which made the term a clear winner for its Word of the Year title.
So, what does vape mean? It originated as an abbreviation of vapour or vaporize. The OxfordDictionaries.com definition was added in August 2014: the verb means ‘to inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device’, while both the device and the action can also be known as a vape. The associated noun vaping is also listed.
If you vape, you are a “vaper” ( no one thought “vapist” was a good idea); and the act of doing so – perhaps in a “vaporium” – is “vaping”.
You may be surprised to learn that the word vaping existed before the phenomenon. Although e-cigarettes weren’t commercially available until the 21st century, a 1983 article in New Society entitled ‘Why do People Smoke?’ contains the first known usage of the term. The author, Rob Stepney, described what was then a hypothetical device:
“an inhaler or ‘non-combustible’ cigarette, looking much like the real thing, but…delivering a metered dose of nicotine vapour. (The new habit, if it catches on, would be known as vaping.)”
You are thirty 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.
Vape beat out an unusual list of contenders including normcore (boring clothing worn as a fashion statement); slacktivism ("informal actions performed via the Internet in support of a political or social cause but regarded as requiring little time or involvement").
Last year, " selfie" was the word of the year in the Oxford Dictionaries.