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Could Ecigarettes Be Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year?



Last year, 2013, Oxford Dictionaries name of the year was ‘selfie’ and it was no surprise as this was the word that was on everyone’s lips throughout the year. So what would be Oxford Dictionaries 2014 word of the year? Could it really be a word associated with electronic cigarettes? Have e cigarettes become so popular? Well let’s have a look at some of the words short listed.



Are Words Describing E Cigarettes Now as Popular As These Words?

Bae – was considered, it’s what some people might call their loved one, a term of endearment. You may have heard the word in hip-hop and R&B lyrics and music. Its use in social media has increased its popularity globally from its original African-American roots.

Indyref – well I had never even heard of this one, but it was short listed. It became a popular word to describe the Scottish Independence Referendum. It kind of makes sense now and you can understand why vocabulary around such an important event would enter the lexicon.

Contactless – you make have seen the latest contactless card machines in your local shop or garage, in fact they are everywhere now. This latest technology allows you to pay for small value items by just waving your credit card or smart phone at the device. I think I know why this word has been used so much this year, that’s if everyone is like me and said what’s contactless/ when they were first asked to use one.

Slacktivism – slack activism? How can you be slack and active? Did you do a no make-up selfie or ice bucket challenge, yeah that’s slacktivism! If you have supported a social or political cause with actions performed over the internet that have required little involvement or time or even joined a social media campaign group or sign up to an online petition, you could be accused of slacktivism, so I guess we are all guilty!

Budtender – remember this is an international award, so you are probably completely unaware of this word, however it is very popular in the US, which explains how it got short listed. So what does it mean? This word has been widely adopted to describe a person who works in a cannabis shop and serves customers. Yes, cannabis is now legal for medical use in many US states. The word made up from a slang term for cannabis ‘bud’ and ‘tender’ as Americans call a barman.

Normcore – if you are not a fashionista this word and trend may have already passed you by, yes fashion changes very quickly. The word describes people who deliberately make a fashion statement by wearing unfashionable or ordinary cloths. Hmm, I wonder why the trend didn’t last very long!


So What about Electronic Cigarettes Words?

If you are thinking that none of the above words could possibly be the international word of 2014 you would be right, but remember they were all shortlisted.

So bae, would you like to talk about the indyref or are you a slacktivist, maybe you would rather just vape. That’s your clue!

The Oxford Dictionary 2014 International word of the year is ‘vape’!

‘vape’ being the most used new word of 2014 internationally reflects not only the popularity of vaping and electronic cigarette use in 2014, but also the scrutiny and media coverage of e cigarettes during the year.

One thing is for sure, while post 2014 you may seldom hear the words, ‘bae’ ‘indyref’ ‘contactless’ ‘slacktivism’ budtender’ or ‘normcore’ the popularity of electronic cigarettes and vaping will increase as they replace traditional tobacco smoking.


So that’s Why E Cigarette Words Are used So Often!

Oxford Dictionary researchers use sophisticated software that allows them to track and identify emerging new words, this data is compiled on a daily basis to keep up with trends and news events. The frequency of use of a word is evaluated and compared to news events and geographical nuances to determine its true use and popularity.

The Director of Editorial at the Oxford Dictionary – Judy Pearsall, explained: e cigarettes and vaping went mainstream in 2014, Barry Manilow and Lindsay Lohan are just two of the many celebrities who have started using e cigarettes this year. This combined with the growing legal and political debates surrounding e cigs, has increased the language use of many terms on the subject including, vape, vaping, e cigs and e cigarettes.

So what does vape actually mean? In its verb context ‘vape’ is the action of inhaling and the exhaling the vapour that is created by an electronic cigarette.

You may be thinking that ‘vape’ is not a new word and you would be right! The earliest use of the word can be traced back to 1983 in an article published by Rob Stepney an acclaimed author, who at the time was describing a hypothetical device to replace tobacco smoking. He wrote, “A non-combustible inhaler, that is similar in appearance to a tobacco cigarette and delivers a measured dose of vapour nicotine. This could become a new safer habit and would be called vaping” Oh man, I wonder if he wishes he patented ecigarettes then!

To win the word of the year award it does not need to be a new word, it just needs to be very popular, and the use of the word ‘vape’ has increased by 223% during 2014.


What Will Be The Next Big E Cigarette Word?

Take your pick, ecigs, ecigarettes, and so on.  But what’s really interesting is the word ‘retrocig’. Any ideas? Yes, this word has started to be used to describe traditional tobacco cigarettes, another indicator of how far electronic cigarettes have come and where tobacco cigarettes are going – retro land?




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