As 2014 draws to a close, it’s time to look back and see which words have been significant throughout the past twelve months, and to announce the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year. Without further ado, we can exclusively reveal that the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2014 is….
Although there is a shortlist of strong contenders, it was vape that emerged victorious as Word of the Year.
What does vape mean?
So, what does vape mean? It originated as an abbreviation of vapour or vaporize. The OxfordDictionaries.com definition was added in August 2014: the verb means ‘to inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device’, while both the device and the action can also be known as a vape. The associated noun vaping is also listed.
Why was vape chosen?
As e-cigarettes (or e-cigs) have become much more common, so vape has grown significantly in popularity. 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.
Usage of vape peaked in April 2014 – as the graph below indicates – around the time that the UK’s first ‘vape café’ (The Vape Lab in Shoreditch, London) opened its doors, and protests were held in response to New York City banning indoor vaping. In the same month, the issue of vaping was debated by The Washington Post, the BBC, and the British newspaper The Telegraph, amongst others.
The language of vaping
Vape is also the modifier for other nouns, creating new compound nouns which are growing in popularity. The most common of these are vape pen and vape shop, and there is also recent evidence for vape lounge, vape fluid, vape juice, and others. Related coinages include e-juice, carto, and vaporium – as well as the retronym tobacco cigarette for traditional cigarettes. (A retronym is a new term created from an existing word in order to distinguish the original word from a later development – for example, acoustic guitar developing after the advent of the electric guitar.)
Vape也是其他名词的修饰语，创建了越来越多的新流行的复合名词。其中最常见的是vape pen(钢笔改装的电子烟)和vape shop(电子烟商店)，也有最近流行的vape lounge, vape fluid, vape juice等等。相关的新词汇包括e-juice, carto,和vaporium，还有传统香烟的返璞词烟草香烟。(返璞词就是从一个已有的词中创出一个新词，这是为了将原始词和随后的变形区分开来——举个例子，电子吉他出现后有了原声吉他。)
Vape before vaping
You may be surprised to learn that the word vaping existed before the phenomenon. 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. The author, Rob Stepney, described what was then a hypothetical device:
“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.)”
However, despite these early beginnings, Oxford Dictionaries research shows that it wasn’t until 2009 that this sense of vape (and vaping) started to appear regularly in mainstream sources.