The brilliant minds at Oxford Dictionary had many choices for their pick of the 2014 international Word of the Year. But in what seems fitting considering the movement across this country to legalize weed, their choice wasn’t bae, normcore or budtender (our second favorite), it’s vape.
That’s right, Oxford just became the peoples’ champ by choosing the abbreviated version (noun or verb) of vaporizer. Many will attribute it to the rising use of e-cigarettes through vaporizers. The organization’s post makes no reference to weed, which is fine, but really, vape or vaping is best enjoyed with weed, which has been noted by scientists (check out ANIMAL’s own experience with vapes here).
Interstingly, vape was only just added to Oxford’s online dictionary in August of this year, and still had not been granted inclusion into the Oxford English Dictionary, but is “being considered for future conclusion.”
The post goes on to trace the origins of the word, with its research team finding first mention of it dating to the 1980s. The following passage is why I love word nerds:
Its earliest known use is in an article, ‘Why do People Smoke’ in New Society in 1983. The author, Rob Stepney, described a hypothetical device being explored at the time:
‘an inhaler or ‘non-combustible’ cigarette, looking much like the real thing, but…delivering a metered dose of nicotine vapour. (The new habit, if it catches on, would be known as vaping.)’
Thus, it seems that vaping the word existed before vaping the phenomenon. Oxford Dictionaries research indicates that while this sense of vape was in use in the 1990s, as evidenced by posts within the UseNet bulletin board system, it wasn’t until around 2009 that it started to appear regularly in mainstream sources.
UseNet bulletin boards!
(Illustration: Nate Cepis/ANIMALNewYork)