What do hashtag, app and Y2K have in common? They're all past Oxford Dictionaries International Words of the Year. Every year, the wordsmiths at Oxford pick the term that's attracted the most attention or interest during the past year. Now, there's another word to add to the list. And, the Word of the Year for 2014 is - drum roll please - vape.
Vape refers to those electronic cigarettes that are so popular nowadays. These e-cigarettes use a mist, also called vapor, to deliver tobacco to the user. Over the past year, e-cigarettes have taken off, but not without controversy. The CDC recently reported that e-cigarette use has tripled among teens in the past two years.
Inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device
An electronic cigarette or similar device; an act of inhaling and exhaling the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device
While e-cigarettes have only been around for a few years, Oxford Dictionaries says the first use of the term "vape" happened all the way back in 1983 in an article called "Why Do People Smoke." But, the word didn't gain mainstream usage until 2009.
Vape may have come away with the crown, but Oxford Dictionaries didn't pull that choice out of thin air. In fact, it had to pick the word out of a short list of candidates. Most of the runner ups didn't even exist a few years ago and are a product of technology, current events and pop culture.
Here are the 2014 Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year contenders that fell just short.
Used as a term of endearment for one’s romantic partner.
A person whose job is to serve customers in a cannabis dispensary or shop.
Relating to or involving technologies that allow a smart card, mobile phone, etc. to contact wirelessly to an electronic reader, typically in order to make a payment.
The referendum on Scottish independence, held in Scotland on 18 September 2014, in which voters were asked to answer yes or no to the question ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’
A trend in which ordinary, unfashionable clothing is worn as a deliberate fashion statement.
slacktivism, noun, informal:
Actions performed via the Internet in support of a political or social cause but regarded as requiring little time or involvement, e.g. signing an online petition or joining a campaign group on a social media website.
Language is changing all the time and technology is a major driving force. Click here to see tech terms recently added to the dictionary.