‘Vape’ is Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year


Defined as to “inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device” – ‘vape’ beat contenders including ‘slacktivism’, ‘bae’, ‘contactless’ and ‘indyref’ to be chosen as Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2014.

Language research conducted by Oxford Dictionaries editors shows that use of the word vape in 2014 has more than doubled compared to 2013.

Over the last five years, sales of electronic cigarettes have grown from almost nothing to a multi-million USD industry, and the habit has gone mainstream, the dictionary said in a blog.

“A gap emerged in the lexicon, as a word was needed to describe this activity, and distinguish it from ‘smoking’,” it said.

The word ‘vape’ arose to fill this gap, and it has proliferated along with the habit. Its linguistic productivity is evident in the development of a vaping lexicon.

“As vaping has gone mainstream, with celebrities from Lindsay Lohan to Barry Manilow giving it a go, and with growing public debate on the public dangers and the need for regulation, so the language usage of the word ‘vape’ and related terms in 2014 has shown a marked increase,” said Judy Pearsall, Editorial Director for Oxford Dictionaries.

‘Vape’ was added to OxfordDictionaries.com in August 2014, although the Word of the Year selection is made irrespective of whether the candidates are already included in an Oxford dictionary, the blog said.

‘Vape’ is not yet in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), but is currently being considered for future inclusion, it said.

Other shortlisted words for the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2014 are: ‘bae’ – used as a term of endearment for one’s romantic partner, ‘budtender’ – a person whose job is to serve customers in a cannabis dispensary or shop and ‘contactless’ – relating to or involving technologies that allow a smart card, mobile phone, etc to contact wirelessly to an electronic reader.

Words such as ‘indyref’, ‘normcore’ and ‘slacktivism’ also made it to the shortlist.