The Oxford English Dictionary’s 2014 word of the year is: vape. Vape, a verb which literally means to inhale and exhale the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device, beat out words like: bae, budtender, contactless, indyref, normcore, and slacktivist.
Every year Oxford’s lexicographers watch over billions of words every month from novels, to newspapers, to magazines, to blogs and at the end of the year they select the word that best embodies that of the collective zeitgeist as word of the year.
The word vape was coined in the 1980s when companies began experimenting with the first “smokeless” cigarettes. After nearly two decades of languishing however the word has come roaring back with a vengeance in recent years. Vape as a word was needed to distinguish the growing use of e-cigarettes from “old fashioned” smoking.
According to Oxford’s calculations use of the word more than doubled from 2013 to 2014. Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford’s dictionaries division, “Vape only really caught on a few years ago and now we’ve seen a dramatic rise.”
Vape’s selection showcases the recent boom in the popularity of e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes, which were invented in 2003, have exploded in recent years and are now close to a $2 billion market. It also served as a way for Oxford to capture the memory of this year’s historic opening of legal marijuana shops in Colorado and Washington.
Vapers now have to feel pretty good about their passion finally entering the lexicon.
How do you feel about vape being named the 2014 word of the year? Leave a comment below!