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…look it up


At long last, Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year is here. That single piece of vocab that defines the last 12(ish) months was announced yesterday. So what’s the most influential word of 2014?


Pronunciation: /vāp /


Inhale and exhale the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.


An electronic cigarette or similar device.

A few interesting facts about this interesting choice:

  1.  The iOS autocorrect default for it is cape…except…when it’s tape…or ape…or drape…and I’m going to stop testing that, because I think I’ve made my point. Not even autocorrect thinks vape is worthy.
  2. Okay, I lied, it also autocorrects to gape, which is what I imagine most people did when they saw that Oxford chose cape…sorry that’s vape.
  3. Now for a non-critical fun fact: the use of the word vape more than doubled in the last year.
  4. The term “vaping” dates back to 1983, before e-cigarettes were any more than a hypothetical product.
  5. The term translates to several other languages, including:
    • Spanish: vapear
    • French: vapoter
    • Italian: svaporare
    • German: dampfen

So, who didn’t make the cut?

  • bae: Used as a term of endearment for one’s romantic partner

Thank goodness, and bring on the vaping, is all I have to say about that.

  • budtender: a person whose job is to serve customers in a cannabis dispensary or shop.

Did this year really bring us no decent words?

  • contactless: technologies that allow a smart card, mobile phone, etc. to contact wirelessly to an electronic reader, usually to make some kind of payment.

Boring? Yes, and I probably would have been flummoxed by this one as well.

  • normcore: referring to a trend in which ordinary, unfashionable clothing is worn as a deliberate fashion statement.

I have never heard this word before, but I kind of like it…too bad the trend has passed.

  • slacktivism: actions performed via the Internet in support of a political or social cause but regarded as requiring little time or involvement, e.g. signing an online petition or joining a campaign group on a social media website.

A depressing statement on our culture, but then again, so was selfie.

I suppose it’s too late to argue with it now. 2014, for better or worse, you’re the year of the grape…I mean vape.


The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2014: Runners Up

…bi-daily smile…


oxfordenglishdictionaryEvery year the dictionaries of the world determine what terms and words need to be added to their pages (on the web and otherwise), and every year Zer and myself share our two cents. Read the rest of this entry

…choose your words


Those of you with saltier vocabularies, I have good news for you: Your sailor-friendly word choices may actually be good for you. Read the rest of this entry

…be your bestie


This week the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) got just a bit more robust. Yes, the annual additions have been made. The possibility is almost palpable… Read the rest of this entry

…Hash It Out

twitter-hashtag-imageThe French are world-renowned for their dedication to their language (it sounds nicer than calling them snobs).

However, now they may have taken it too far.  They have banished the hashtag…or at least the term “hashtag.”

France’s Commission Générale de Terminologie et de Néologie announced this week that all government references to hashtagged words and phrases, will now use the French term “mot-dièse,” which means, “sharp word.”

It’s either a gross over-estimation of the caliber of thoughts that accompany the majority of hashtags (they’re not all that “sharp”).

Or it’s oddly fitting.   Read the rest of this entry


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