Vape Beats Out Bae and Normcore to Become Oxford Dictionaries’ 2014 Word of the Year

Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/Getty Images

Put down your Magic cards and doff your fedora to Oxford Dictionaries’$2 2014 word of the year: vape, the nerdier cousin of smoking favored by people who fancy themselves characters from The Matrix.

Vape, the actual definition of which is to “inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device,” has really taken on a life of its own in the last couple years. According to the Oxford Dictionaries blog, you’re 30 times more likely to come across the word now than you were in 2012, and usage has more than doubled since 2013.

Vape had to beat out some pretty popular slang contenders to nab its title. Personally, we were rooting for normcore, but we’re biased. Here’s the short list of the other nominees:

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 deliberatefashion 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.


Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year: Vape