It's that time of year again: when Oxford Dictionaries synthesizes a year's worth of words and crowns one the champion. This year's Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is ... vape.
The word is both a noun and a verb. As a noun, it refers to the electronic device - usually an e-cigarette - used to vaporize a substance for inhalation. As a verb, it means to inhale and exhale the vaporized substance produced by the e-cigarette.
Oxford Dictionaries' editorial team says it chose "vape" because of the word's growing popularity over the past year and a half. Media interest in London's "The Vape Lab" - the first U.K. e-cigarette coffee shop - and controversy surrounding the health and safety of vaping have driven the word into the mainstream.
As it turns out, though, the word has been around since the 1980s. Oxford describes an article written in 1983 where the author, Rob Stepney, described an e-cigarette. He even went on to coin the term "vaping!"
As media outlets, health organizations and scientific studies continue to debate the benefits and pitfalls of e-cigarettes, "vape" will likely continue its popular streak well into the coming year.
Oxford shared a shortlist of words in the running for Word of the Year, including the affectionate term "bae," the tech term "contactless," referring to wireless payments and "budtender," which is essentially a marijuana bartender. You can learn more about "vape," and check out the rest of the shortlist on Oxford's OxfordWords blog.
Vape is the word of the year!
Ilona Orshansky, owner of Brooklyn Vaper, uses a vaporizer, also known as an e-cigarette, in her shop in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. Bloomberg Industries projects total U.S. e-cigarette sales could reach $1.5 billion this year. Photographer: Timothy Fadek/Bloomberg via Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27: Vape Lab employee Leonardo Verzaro uses an E-Cigarette while working on August 27, 2014 in London, England. The Department of Health have ruled out the outlawing of 'e-cigs' in enclosed spaces in England, despite calls by WHO, The World Health Organisation to do so. WHO have recommended a ban on indoor smoking of e-cigs as part of tougher regulation of products dangerous to children. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 10: John Urban smokes an electronic cigarette at Vape New York, an electronic cigarette store on June 10, 2013 in New York City. Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery powered devices that vaporizes a nicotine laced liquid solution into an aerosol mist which simulates the act of tobacco smoking. E-cigarettes are attracting major investors as their popularity increases and the market for traditional cigarettes continues to shrink. On Monday it was announced that Sean Parker will be investing $75 million in a leading maker of electronic cigarettes. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Eric Scheman demonstrates an e-cigarette at Vape store in Chicago, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. The federal government wants to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Oxford English Dictionary
Various types of Oxford dictionaries on display in a shop window