The 2014 Words of the Year

The Oxford Dictionary named “vape” the Word of the Year, Collins English Dictionary picked “photo bomb”online dictionary Merriam-Webster chose “culture” and “exposure”. Although very different the expressions sum up 2014 as a year of heartbreak, hilarity and health awareness. (We took the liberty to name three Words of the Year ourselves – keep reading to find out what they are.)


2014 was the year smokers stopped freezing their toes off whilst smoking outside and instead they embraced the e-cigarette movement, inhaling vanilla liquorice lychee infused chemicals from flute shaped plastic tubes. The Oxford Dictionary picked up on this hot trend it and named it their Word of the Year. 

Photo bomb

Benedict Cumberbatch wasn’t just the name on everyone’s lips, he also gave us the perfect photo bomb, illustrating the Word of The Year as picked by Collins English Dictionary. Sometimes a picture truly says a thousand words.


2014 was also a year filled with fear and heartbreak and following the ebola outbreak, named “exposure” the most important name of the year.


Merriam-Webster’s runner up was “nostalgia”, a word on many people’s minds during a year filled with big anniversaries, but in a year where “culture” was used both broadly and specifically across media, this was their most searched word. If only we’d had a penny every time someone said “celebrity culture” in 2014…

Here are some of our favourite words from 2014


Some people got a bit fed up this year with fashion fads so unisex fashion expression ‘normcore’ came to be. The word itself is a portmanteau of “normal” and “hardcore” and is epitomised by people choosing to dress in non-stand out clothing. Think GAP, H&M and Esprit.


“I ship Harry and Emma,” said close to every teenager on Twitter earlier this autumn, referring to a cosy looking image of Harry Styles and Emma Watson that went viral. This slang word, short for “relationship” emerged from fan fiction and was on everyone’s lips (or on every fifteen-year-old’s lips at least). It means to desire for two people, often fictional or of celebrity status, to be in a relationship. 


The little rodents were everywhere! Maybe it says something about the increasing number of people filming their everyday experiences but squirrels were appearing in online videos all year long. Whether it was squirrels stealing GoPro cameras or German students unable to pronounce the word (it is hard!), these cute little furry creatures almost beat Kim Kardashian at her attempt to break the Internet. 

What's your Word of 2014? Tweet us @LinguistTrain