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Vape: 2014 word of the yearJon Williams (

‘Vape’ is 2014’s word of the year

The word beat off competition from ‘bae’ and ‘normcore’

It's been a good year for vaping. The word has nearly doubled in usage, an e-cigarette company scored the first vape ad on British TV, and the practice has spawned subcultures all of its own. Now the Oxford Dictionaries have announced that their word of the year is "vape", defined as to inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.

According to the language buffs at Oxford Dictionaries, we are "thirty times more likely to use the word" compared to two years ago. That, combined with the opening of vape cafes and extensive debates about its safety in national media outlets, influenced the decision to nominate it as word of the year. The vaping business is expected to hit the $1.5 billion mark in sales for 2014 as people start to dump the fags in favour of the tar-free tokes.

"Vape" saw off some stiff competition to take home the prize, with 2014 proving an experimental and progressive year for linguistics. Let's look at the other contenders on the shortlist.


This is confusing. Trend forecasting agency K-Hole created the term as a descriptor for adapting to certain situations, rather than the Oxford Dictionaries' definition of dressing in "ordinary, unfashionable clothing". LA journalist Christopher Glazek wrote: "The point of normcore is that you could dress like a NASCAR mascot for a big race and then switch to raver ware for a long druggy night at the club. It's about infinitely flexible, sunny appropriation." 


It's a 'b' away from babe, which is an 'e' away from baby, which is what 'bae' really means. It peaked culturally when Pharrell used it for his song "Come Get it Bae" featuring Miley Cyrus, and features in TIME's competition of words that should be banned in 2015.


Unfortunately for Britain, buying weed over the counter from a "budtender" is still illegal (unless you know where to go and no, we're not telling you). However, Americans have been working pretty hard this year to decriminalise the practice of buying, owning and smoking marijuana, hence a spike in the existence of budtenders and people using the word. Budtenders don't just dispense weed, they also advise customers on which strains to buy depending on their recreational needs or medical conditions. Mic describe it as the "hottest job in Colorado".


Everybody knows a slacktivist. They're the Facebook firebrands who'll post ranty articles about the right-wing press or the Iraq war, but you won't find them anywhere near an actual protest. Slacktivists put in minimal effort to post political rhetoric, but aren't keen on actual engagement with the issues at hand. It's a combination of "slacker" and "activist", in case you hadn't noticed. Fuck the man!


An abbreviation of "independence referendum". The 2014 indyref captivated the UK, shook Scotland from political slumber and freaked out David Cameron. #indyref dominated Twitter throughout September, and it momentarily looked as if independence was going to happen – but in the end, 55% voted against. Must have been that inspirational visit Cameron, Clegg and Miliband made to Scotland a week before the voting.