Accessibility links

'Vape' is English Word of the Year for 2014, Oxford Says

  • VOA News

FILE - "Vape," according to the Oxford Dictionaries, is the verb that describes inhaling and exhaling the vapor from an electronic cigarette. It can also be a noun referring to the action or the device.

FILE - "Vape," according to the Oxford Dictionaries, is the verb that describes inhaling and exhaling the vapor from an electronic cigarette. It can also be a noun referring to the action or the device.

This year's English word of the year, as chosen by the Oxford Dictionaries, is one you might never have heard: "vape."

"Vape" is the verb that describes inhaling and exhaling the vapor from an electronic cigarette or similar device. It can also be used as a noun referring to the action or the device.

Oxford editors say "you are thirty times more likely to come across the word 'vape' than you were two years ago." They say "usage has more than doubled in the past year."

Last year's word of the year was "selfie" — a photo you take of yourself with a smartphone or other camera.

"Vape" was officially added to the OxfordDictionaries.com website in August.

It defeated several other words deemed "significant" this year in becoming the top pick.

In no particular order, here are the six runners-up:

"Bae" — "Bae" is "a term of endearment for a romantic partner." Oxford's blog says the term "probably has more currency" in the U.S. than it does in Britain. It says it has "proliferated through use on social media and in lyrics in hip-hop." Some say "bae" is a shortened form of the word "babe," while others say it is an acronym that stands for "before anyone else."

"Budtender" — A "budtender" is someone "whose job is to serve customers in a cannabis dispensary or shop." The word is more common in the U.S., where a number of states have legalized marijuana in recent years.

"Contactless" — Used mainly in Britain, "contactless" describes technologies that allow a smart card, mobile phone or other such device to "contact wirelessly to an electronic reader, usually to make some kind of payment."

"Indyref" — "Indyref" is a hybrid word referring to Scotland's independence referendum. Oxford bloggers say it appeared originally and "probably most commonly" as a Twitter hashtag. They say it "signals the increased impact that social media is having" on the English language.

"Normcore" — Wearing ordinary, unfashionable clothing as a deliberate fashion statement is known as "normcore." The Oxford blog says 2014 "is the year that 'normcore' shot into the popular consciousness."

"Slacktivism" — "Slacktivism" combines the words "slack" and "activism" and describes “actions performed via the Internet in support of a political or social cause but regarded as requiring little time or involvement." One such example is the so-called "Ice Bucket Challenge" that flooded social media this year with videos of people pouring ice water over their heads to raise money for and awareness of the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurological disease.

Show comments

XS
SM
MD
LG