‘Vape’ – What’s behind the 2014 word of the year


CHARLOTTE, NC, November 18, 2014 – It has been said that “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Unless, of course, you are an ISIS terrorist. Then all bets are off.

As we begin to draw the curtain on 2014 and get ready to set the stage for a brand new year, we should take a moment to reflect upon the most significant word of the year according to Oxford Dictionaries.

With much ado about something, the 2014 word of the year winner is VAPE.

If you haven’t heard the word before, don’t feel bad, neither has a high percentage of the rest of the world either, even though VAPE has apparently been around since 1983.

According to Rob Stepney in a New Society article, the author wrote a story titled “Why do People Smoke?” which contains the first known use of the word VAPE. At the time the story was written, Stepney was only referring to a hypothetical device which was defined as “an inhaler or ‘non-combustible’ cigarette, looking much like the real thing, but…delivering a metered dose of nicotine vapour. (The new habit, if it catches on, would be known as vaping.)”

VAPE was selected because it has grown in popularity over the past year and a half. Thanks to an e-cigarette coffee shop called “The Vape Lab” which opened in London last year, the media has taken an interest in the new phenomenon of electronic cigs.

Combined with the controversy and debates over the benefits and dangers of e-cigarettes Oxford Dictionaries believes the word has now been driven into mainstream vocabulary and is here to stay.

The word originated as a shortened form of “vapor” or “vaporize”. As a verb VAPE means “to inhale or exhale the vapor created by an electronic cigarette or similar device.”

Both the device and the act of smoking an e-cigarette are known as a VAPE, but the associated noun for the action is called VAPING.

Note that VAPE can also be used as a modifier for other nouns to create compound nouns such as VAPE PEN, VAPE SHOP, VAPE LOUNGE, VAPE FLUID and the always popular VAPE JUICE.

It won’t be long before everyone will be inhaling and exhaling large quantities of e-smoke in the U.S. after the first VAPORIUM opens in a town near you.

It should be noted, however, that, like the elimination rounds on Dancing with the Stars, VAPE did not have an easy road to victory. Several other equally non-descript words were close contenders, but alas they did not capture the e-cigar.

Here are the also rans:

bae n. used as a term of endearment for one’s romantic partner.

budtender n. a person whose job is to serve customers in a cannabis dispensary or shop.

contactless adj. 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.

indyref, n. an abbreviation of ‘independence referendum’, in reference to 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?’

normcore n. a trend in which ordinary, unfashionable clothing is worn as a deliberate fashion statement.

slacktivism, n., 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; a blend of slacker and activism.

And there you have it, a list of six great new words to add to your vocabulary for 2015.

Just remember, if the U.S. space program ever comes back, we might just be watching our rockets launch from VAPE CANAVERAL. Now wouldn’t THAT be something!


Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.

Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News
Follow Bob on Twitter @MrPeabod

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