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Oxford Names 'Vape' Word Of The Year

After a year-and-a-half of controversy and health concerns, "vape" emerges victorious as Oxford Dictionaries' Word of the Year.

By Mikah Sargent | November 17, 2014

It's that time of year again: when Oxford Dictionaries synthesizes a year's worth of words and crowns one the champion. This year's Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is ... vape. 

The word is both a noun and a verb. As a noun, it refers to the electronic device — usually an e-cigarette — used to vaporize a substance for inhalation. As a verb, it means to inhale and exhale the vaporized substance produced by the e-cigarette. (Videos via YouTube / PDX1K, YouTube / Abby Vapes)

Oxford Dictionaries' editorial team says it chose "vape" because of the word's growing popularity over the past year and a half. Media interest in London's "The Vape Lab" — the first U.K. e-cigarette coffee shop — and controversy surrounding the health and safety of vaping have driven the word into the mainstream. 

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As it turns out, though, the word has been around since the 1980s. Oxford describes an article written in 1983 where the author, Rob Stepney, described an e-cigarette. He even went on to coin the term "vaping!" 

As media outlets, health organizations and scientific studies continue to debate the benefits and pitfalls of e-cigarettes, "vape" will likely continue its popular streak well into the coming year. (Videos via BBC, CNN)

Oxford shared a shortlist of words in the running for Word of the Year, including the affectionate term "bae," the tech term "contactless," referring to wireless payments and "budtender," which is essentially a marijuana bartender. You can learn more about "vape," and check out the rest of the shortlist on Oxford's OxfordWords blog

This video includes an image from Getty Images.

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