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For Your Proliferation: Nominees for 2015’s Word of the Year

With word (pun intended) coming down that vape was chosen as Oxford Dictionaries’ 2014 Word of the Year, selfie’s cruel reign as the 2013 Word of the Year has finally come to an end.

The self-involved terminological tyrant made a brief appearance at the Word of the Year pageant, handing vape the crown while taking a snapshot with a smartphone before sauntering off to post the pic on Instagram. The queen is dead! Long live the queen!

To vape, according to the Oxford folks, is to “inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.”

Question: If you vape, are you a vapist? Would you really want to admit that?

“Interestingly,” lied Oxford English Dictionary Senior Editor Eleanor Maier in a video post on the Oxford Dictionaries blog, “we can trace the word vape, in the form of the noun vaping, back to the early 1980s, even though electronic cigarettes did not become commercially available until the 21st century. Its earliest known use is in an article in New Society in 1983, called ‘Why Do People Smoke?’ Its author, Rob Stepney, describes hypothetical devices being explored at the time.”

“So,” Ms. Maier continued, “it seems vaping the word existed before vaping the phenomenon.”

Speculative thinking at its finest! Just like we have Star Trek communicators to blame for flip phones and Star Trek tricorders to blame for smartphones and Star Trek fans to blame for William Shatner.

Mr. Stepney now has a fantastic credit to his name, having coined a phenomenon 31 years in advance of its heavy use by hipsters without the figurative balls to go all-in and smoke. Instead, they vape, which according to studies like this one, may still cause cancer anyway. Same result, different method, even dumber word.

Yet I find myself full of envy for Mr. Stepney. I want to be credited for adding to the King’s English one day, like we credit Bill Shakespeare for arouse, skim milk, and zany, and so I’ve made a list of words I encourage you to use and write so they become contenders in 2015 and I can become the next wordly prophet:

  • vickering – to do your job well and to humbly accept praise while trying to share credit with other members of your team.
  • cosbedite – any substance on which nothing seems to stick but ultimately loses its Teflon-like resistance over time and under mounting evidence and/or accusations.
  • jianify – to bring about your career’s end by showing your employer evidence of your moral turpitude.
  • Messiered – to be creeped upon in your own home by a retired sports star while trying to watch television.
  • searsed – to call in favours from a rich, formerly popular relative to save your company without doing anything to keep up with the changing market or meet the actual needs of your departing customers.

Together, we can take over the dictionary.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to delete some videos so I don’t jianify myself when I’m next showing off the features of my smartphone.

-JW

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