Vape is the ‘smoking’ hot “Word of the Year” for 2014, as chosen by editorial staff at Oxford Dictionaries.
The verb, which is defined as to “inhale and exhale the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device”, has doubled in usage over the past year and you’re 30 times more likely to come across the word than two years ago.
“It’s hard to anticipate what’s going to capture the public imagination at any given moment,” Casper Grathwohl, president of dictionaries division at Oxford University Press, told Time magazine. “Vape only really caught on a few years ago and now we’ve seen a dramatic rise.”
Its usage peaked in April 2014 in line with the opening of café The Vape Lab in Shoreditch, London, while protests in New York were held in response to indoor vaping.
However, vaping isn’t actually a new phenomenon: the word first entered our lexicon in a 1983 article in academic journal New Society entitled “Why do People Smoke”. The word entered the mainstream in 2009, according to Oxford Dictionaries.
Other contenders for Word of the Year included ‘slacktivism’ and ‘bae’. The former is defined as “actions performed via the Internet in support of a political or social cause but regarded as requiring little time or involvement”, while the latter is “used as a term of endearment for one’s romantic partner”.