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Topic: New Years
Source: “The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is… vape” by OxfordWords Blog, Oxford Dictionaries, posted November 17, 2014
Author: The Oxford Dictionaries

“Without further ado,” reports Oxford Dictionaries, “we can exclusively reveal that the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2014 is … vape.”

Oxford reports that there were many strong contenders, but “vape” was chosen because, “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.”

So, what does vape mean? It originated as an abbreviation of vapour or vaporize. The 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.

Usage of vape peaked in April … 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.”

Here are the words that came close, but didn’t quite make it as Word of the Year:

  • 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., a blend of slacker and activism, describing the act of joining a social media campaign in support of a political or social cause without exerting any actual energy, e.g. signing an online petition or joining a campaign group on a social media website.


It’s a bit ironic that the Word of the Year, “vape,” is an abbreviation of the word vapor–a word used in Scripture to illustrate, of all things, the brevity (or, abbreviated nature) of life. According to the biblical usage, you, and all that you will accomplish during the course of your life, are but a “vape” (as though being a vapor wasn’t short enough!). Keep that in mind this New Year as you rip another page from your calendar.

“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).

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