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‘vape’ chosen in OED word pageant

The excitement builds here at the British Library, where the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has assembled a crowd of words for its annual awards ceremony. All wait with bated breath for the announcement of the coveted "Word of the Year" prize, given by the hoary lexicon to the word deemed most popular as well as most significant.

Spectators are imbibing the palpable tension, although some are having Scotch and soda. The attendees include several wannabees that were disqualified from the final round. For instance, the word "Blu", which lost to competitors in the swimsuit competion. "It's spelled wrong," said a judge, adding, "not very pretty", and sure enough, an official from the Division of Orthography ruled that "there's an 'e' at the end." The disappointed word left the ceremony in a fit of pique.

Another disillusioned competitor, the word "Vuse" lost out because nobody knew how to pronounce it. "Is it 'vooz' or 'views'," asked a reporter from rival dictionary Merriam-Webster. "Elocutionary ambiguity is obfuscatory and should be eschewed in all eventualities," rejoined another. The offended word stalked out of the proceedings wearing a quizzical expression, over a low-cut lamé gown.

As the time for the announcement approached, a hush fell over the crowd, injuring several spectators in the balcony. Spectators like MHRA, FDA, and EU hovered in the background, muttering, and refusing to commit themselves to a candidate.

"The fifth runner-up," intoned the announcer, "is 'cigalike' – a useful term for a while, but rapidly entering the 'archaic' category, as the public seeks something more up-to-date." The word refers to vaping products that mimic the inhalation of smoke from burning tobacco, a poison that was used in times of yore, but is now passé. Indeed, 'yore' is recovering from COPD in a sanitarium on the Isle of Man. 

"The fourth runner up is 'mod'," continues the emcee, "which is also beautiful but rapidly becoming obsolete, since it now includes just about everything that is interesting these days." Easily confused with 'modern', it actually derives from 'modified', which is now approaching the norm.

"Third runner-up: 'cartomizer', a term that was useful as 'mods' were transitioning from 'cigalikes' into vapor-tank systems." It combined features of 'atomizers' and 'cartridges' before there was 'dripping'.

"The second runner-up is 'dripping', which is the new 'modding'." Like, you drip your e-liquid on the coil. Way cool! Careful now, not too hot!

"The first runner-up is 'cloud' – the most exciting new competition in the community. Stud vapers vie with each other to create the biggest vapor cloud in a 'cloud contest'. It's what's leaving smoking in the dust as the newest cool habit."

Before revealing the winner, it's time to announce 'Miss Congeniality'! So congenial, so giving, that she'll do just about anything with anybody to make "a mark, a yen, a buck, or a pound." And the winner is: IP trolling. Trafficking with inventors to buy their patents and abscond with profits from inventions you had no part in creating. It's very popular among Big Tobacco companies, they're so congenial.

An the winner is (may I have the envelope please) – Ladies and Gentlemen (and Big Tobacco): VAPE! – Yes, the word of the year is "vape". Tears stream down the crowned word's cheeks as she walks down the runway to the tune of "There she is, our Miss OED." 

The Oxford English Dictionary says so, so listen up!

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