Puff on this: Oxford Dictionaries just crowned “vape” the Word of the Year!
There was some stiff competition for what would take the top spot, but 2014 belonged to the verb used to describe inhaling and exhaling vapors produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.
“Although there is a shortlist of strong contenders … it was vape that emerged victorious,” Oxford explained in their blog announcement. “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 originated as an abbreviation of vapor or vaporize, according to Oxford.
The word is also used to describe the actual device or “vape pen” used to inhale the liquids or “juice.” Its definition was added in August 2014.
The world of vaping has grown into a subculture, with lounges or “vaporiums” that offer users a broad variety of flavors and devices. Controversy has surrounded the practice, though, since not much is known yet about the potential health risks. Vaping is banned in indoor public places in New York City.
Despite vape madness, the word has been around a lot longer than people probably believe.
“You may be surprised to learn that the word vaping existed before the phenomenon,” the blog said. “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.”
Despite this, Oxford Dictionaries research shows that vape or terms related to the word didn’t start to appear regularly in mainstream culture until 2009.
Runners-up for the crown this year included “bae,” a slang term used for a loved one or companion, and “budtender,” which is a person who serves customers in a cannabis dispensary or shop.
The 2013 Word of the Year was “selfie.”