The growing popularity of electronic cigarettes is evident even in the words that we use. If you or some of the people you know of have been using e-cigarettes, you are likely familiar with the term "vape."
As a verb, the word means "to inhale and exhale the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device." It can also be used to refer to the device itself.
Use of the word "vape" has spiked in April this year, according to the Oxford Dictionaries. The usage of the word became more frequent following New York City's move to ban indoor vaping and the opening of The Vape Lab in London, UK, the country's first vape café.
The use of the word has increased more than twice in the past year and more than 30 times since 2012. No wonder that "vape" made it as the Oxford Dictionaries' international word of the year for 2014.
The word has gained interest and attention this year due to the growing popularity of e-cigarettes. The device was invented in 2003 but the last five years were marked by a significant growth in the e-cigarette industry.
With a number of people seeing the use of e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to cigarette smoking and the product itself able to win new audiences and gain momentum, "vape" has distinguished itself from the word smoking. Its usage flourished as the habit of e-cigarette "smoking" has gone mainstream.
"A gap emerged in the lexicon, as a word was needed to describe this activity, and distinguish it from 'smoking,'" Oxford Dictionaries said in a statement. "The word vape arose to fill this gap, and it has proliferated along with the habit."
Oxford Dictionaries Editorial Director Judy Pearsall explained that the decision for choosing the 2014 word of the year can be attributed to the marked increase in the use of the word vape and related terms as well-known personalities including actress Lindsay Lohan and singer Barry Manilow gave vaping a try and with the ongoing debate on the safety and the need to regulate vaping devices.
Other words that were shortlisted in the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2014 include "budtender," which refers to a person who serves cannabis in a dispensary; "bae," a term of endearment for a person's romantic partner, and "slacktivism," which is derived from the words slacker and activism that describes support to causes that does not require much time and involvement such as those that only involve signing of online petition.