Monday, January 12, 2015

Love, Honor, and Oh, Bae!

 The Oxford English Dictionary has chosen vape as its “word of the year” for 2014, edging out bae for top honors. The meaning of vape—to use one of the new smokeless electronic cigarettes that produces a steam-like vapor—is fairly straightforward.  But what in the heck does bae mean, and why?

According to Time Magazine, bae, pronounced just like the word bay, began as a term of endearment, usually applied to one’s boyfriend or girlfriend. It first turned up in rap songs around 2005.

It took on a wider meaning for anything generally good or cool. You can even say “This sandwich is so bae” or “My new Calvin Klein underwear is really bae,” and people of a certain generation will probably know what you mean.

The origin of bae, like that of all good slang words, is debatable. Some say it’s an acronym meaning “Before Anyone Else.” Another theory says it’s simply a shortened form of baby or babe, the latter which would account for the peculiar juxtaposition of a and e.

The Bard of Buffalo Bayou is thinking of changing his sobriquet to The Bae of Buffalo Bayou. What do you think?

            It’s too bad folks have learned to vape,
            It’s now in their vocabulary.
            I guess there’s no way to escape
            The Oxford English Dictionary.

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