‘Contactless’ Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year Finalist (Dec. 1, 2014)
Is it a surprise to anyone in the payments industry that the word “contactless” was a finalist this year as Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year? The dictionary defines the adjective as “relating to or involving technologies that allow a smart card, mobile phone, etc., to contact wirelessly to an electronic reader, typically in order to make a payment.” Oxford Dictionaries’ editorial staff commented that the term is a bit of a misnomer because “while a contactless card doesn’t have to be inserted into a terminal, contact is still made between the card’s [or phone’s] chip and the card reader.”
The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a word or expression that its editors say has attracted a great deal of interest during the year. Candidates for Word of the Year are debated and one is eventually chosen that is judged “to reflect the ethos, mood or preoccupations of that particular year, and to have lasting potential as a word of cultural significance,” according to an announcement.
“Contactless” ultimately lost to “vape,” which refers to an electronic cigarette in noun form, and in verb form is inhaling and exhaling from such a device. Last year’s word of the year? Selfie: A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or Webcam and shared via social media.
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