The Oxford English Dictionary's "What's New In Trollcore English" Word of the Year for 2014 is, as you may already know, "vape."
Among people that pride themselves on having both standards and a brain—a category in which I've never pretended to claim a place—the OED Word of the Year is primarily an occasion for a good bit of highbrow Drunk-Uncle hemming and hawing.
This is good. This is just what the OED wants, as is evidenced by their shortlist, which includes the tech-bro "contactless" as well as the hall-of-fame troll success "normcore" and the painfully awkward Columbus job "bae."
What we have with the Oxford English Dictionaries Word of the Year is institutional moat-building at its best. The more that people begin to reflexively fear a future full of frantically vaping teenagers wearing head-to-toe Fancy Adidas and calling each other Old Bae, the more a vaunted institution such as the Oxford English Dictionary matters, and somehow, the less obvious it seems that the OED is just like any of us: running some shit up the flagpole to see who's gonna salute. When the OED picks a serious word of the year (2011's "squeezed middle," for example) we forget about it. Goodbye, squeezed middle.
It's not that bad, is it?
Kinda giggle when you say it out loud, don't you?
"Vape" is a pretty good word of the year, in my opinion. It's palatably political, relating to major ongoing legislative changes that—remarkably, and all hail to Vape God—have garnered rare across-the-aisle support. It lives free of the pronunciation controversy that has plagued past words of the year ("GIF," 2012). Most importantly, it is a single neat syllable and it sounds fucking stupid when you say it out loud.
Thus its usage is flexible. "Vape," listed by the OED as a verb, is also an excellent modifier. Oh, I'm just over here working on my vape blog, petting my vape dog. I'm just hangin' out at the library waiting for my fellow Christian Vape Dads to show up for the meeting. Whatcha doin, Jia? Just having a quick vape sesh, man, you? It's always funny; you vape and you look totally ridiculous; the word's sound is patently uncool.
Lest you be familiar with my work and think, "Oh, Vape Bitch over here just writing this because she Lives 2 Vape and Vapes 2 Live," let me assure you: I actually don't vape. I keep it analog, vape buds! I don't even own a microwave.
Actually, just kidding, I do have a vape! I forgot, because I'm stupid. I have a Ploom, obviously, but I haven't used it in about six months because the mouthpiece is broken. Anyone have any recommendations to replace?
Image via Getty.