This glossary serves as a reference for those who are not familiar with the various terms used throughout the vaping world.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it should help you follow along with most vaping discussions.
Ampere (A) [amps]: A measure of electrical current. Current is a count of the number of electrons that flow through a circuit.
All Day Vape (ADV): A term used to describe an e-juice that a user can vape all day long without getting tired of it. This is largely subjective as tastes vary greatly. Basically it is a term vapers use to describe an e-juice they really enjoy vaping and vape a lot of.
Atomizer: The part of a vaping device that vaporizes e-juice. Contains a coil and wick. Often features a tank/reservoir that holds e-juice.
Cigalike: A vaping device that closely resembles a cigarette. These are not very common anymore (2019).
Clouds: Huge amounts of vapour is commonly referred to as clouds. Cloud blowing is a competitive sport where contestants compete at blowing the largest, densest, and/or longest clouds of vapour.
Coil: The part of an atomizer that heats up and vapourizes e-juice. This is generally made out of some resistive material (kanthal, stainless steel, nickel, titanium, etc). Electrical current is applied to the coil causing it to heat up.
Direct to Lung: Also called a Lung Hit. This is a method of vaping where the vapour is inhaled directly into the lungs, without keeping it in the mouth first. This is different than how most people smoke a cigarette (see Mouth to Lung).
Drip Tip: The part of an atomizer that goes in your mouth, through which vapour is inhaled. There are many different standards of drip tip, some are removeable and replaceable and others are a fixed part of the atomizer. Some common types of replaceable drip tips are the 510 and 810.
Dripping: The action of applying e-juice manually to a wick, most often done on a Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer (RDA).
Dry Hit: A dry hit is when the atomizer heats up but there is insufficient e-juice in the wick. In this case the wicking material combusts, given a terrible taste.
Electronic Cigarette: The original name used to describe a vaping device; sometimes shortened to ecig. Due to the negative connotation with smoking and tobacco cigarettes, most vapers prefer not to use this term, favouring vape or vaping device instead.
E-liquid/e-juice: A liquid comprised of vegetable glycerine, propylene glycol, and (often) nicotine and flavouring. This liquid is used in vaping devices; it gets vapourized and inhaled by vapers. There are thousands of different brands and flavours available. They also come in different strengths of nicotine - 0, 3, 6, 12 and 18mg being quite common. A modern variation using nicotine salts is becoming increasingly popular; these have strengths ranging from 10mg to 60mg and is intended for use strictly on vaping devices which produce less vapour.
ENDs (Electronic Nicotine Devices): A term most commonly used by scientist to describe vaping devices.
Flooding: This describes when the wick in a tank or RTA gets oversaturated with e-liquid. This results in tiny drops of heated e-juice popping off the coil unvapourized and often ending up in the users mouth.
Freebase Nicotine: This is nicotine in its purest chemical form, making it easier to absorb when heated. This form of nicotine is less stable though, and hence harsher when inhaled.
Homogenization (Steeping): Once all the ingredients of an e-juice is mixed together, the liquid needs some time in order to homogenize. In general terms this means that each drop of e-juice should contain (roughly) the same amount of each ingredient and volatile components should evaporate. Failure to homogenize an e-juice can yield off taste, over- or under-flavouring, nicotine hotspots, harshness and other problems. Homogenization is usually performed in a sealed container with some empty space to allow volatile elements to escape at the surface. Heat can also help speed up the process, but too much and it can cause problems. In vaping, this process is commonly referred to as steeping - even though this does not accurately describe the process, it has become an accepted term).
Joule (J): A measure of energy. It is the energy (work) required to produce one watt of power for one second.
Kanthal: A brand of alloy commonly used in resistance wires. This type of resistive wire is quite frequently used for coils in vaping. This alloy does not allow the mod to measure temperature and hence does not work for Temperature Control.
Lung Hit: See Direct to Lung.
Mechanical Mod (Mech Mod): A type of Mod where the power from the battery is fed directly to the coil without any circuitry regulating it. The power fed to the coil depends on its resistance and the current charge level (voltage) of the battery(s).
Mod (power unit): This is the part of a vaping device that provides power to the atomizer. These almost always feature some form of battery (either built-in or replaceable). Some mods allow the user to specify the power provided, while other provide power based on the current voltage of the batteries.
Mouth to Lung: A method of vaping where the vapour is inhaled into the mouth and then drawn into the lungs. This is similar to how most cigarette users inhale smoke. This also refers to a subsection of vaping devices that cater to higher nicotine and lower vapour production; usually with a restrictive airflow.
Nickel/Nichrome: Another type of resistive wire commonly used in vaping coils. Due to the properties of this wire, the mod is able to detect the current temperature of the coil and regulate or control it - a process called Temperature Control.
Nicotine: Nicotine is a stimulant that is naturally produced in the nightshade family of plants (such as tobacco) and also (in lesser quantities) in others such as: eggplant, tomatos and potatos. Nicotine is often used recreationally due to its mood-altering effects. There are two common types of nicotine used in vaping: Freebase and Salt Nicotine.
Ohm: A measure of electronic resistance. Used in vaping to measure the characteristics of any particular coil (heating element).
Passthrough: The ability of a vaping device to be used for vaping while it is being charged. Only applies to mods that have built-in batteries.
Priming: The process of adding e-juice to a new coil before it is used for the first time. This is done manually to properly saturate the wicks before first use, preventing the wick from getting burnt and ruining the coil.
Propylene Glycol (PG): A colourless liquid used as one of the bases for e-juice. This liquid is commonly used as the flavour carrier in eliquds. Has a lower viscosity than Vegetable Glycerine (VG).
Ratio (for e-juice): The ratio of vegetable glycerine to propylene glycol (VG:PG) in an e-juice. This varies by brand and flavour and generally describes the viscosity of the resulting e-juice. The ratio affects the amount of vapour produced (higher VG) as well as flavour intensity and ability to wick in lower power devices (higher PG). Common ratios include 50/50, 60/40, 70/30 (VG/PG). There is also a type of e-juice called Max VG, where the only PG contributions are from flavouring (flavouring used for e-juice is commonly provided in a PG solution). These are favoured by those looking to produce high volumes of clouds.
ReBuildable Atomizer (RBA): The term used to describe any atomizer in which the user can build their own coils, such as RDAs and RTAs.
Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer (RDA): Similar to a Rebuildable Tank Atomizer (RTA), except that these do not have a reservoir to hold e-juice. Instead, these require the user to apply e-juice directly to the wick from time to time; keeping it saturated so it does not Dry Hit.
Rebuildable Tank Atomizer (RTA): A Tank atomizer that has as an area (build deck) where the user can construct their own coil and wicking material instead of using bought coils. These allow the user to fully customize their experience.
Resistance: See Ohm.
Salt Nicotine: This is the natural form of nicotine found in tobacco plants. It is much more stable than Freebase Nicotine (i.e. it is less harsh when inhaled) allowing higher concentrations of nicotine to be inhaled.
Squonking: The process of squeezing a bottle containing e-juice in order to feed it to the wick. This is exclusively done with bottom-feed mods and atomizers.
Sub Ohming: Refers to vaping devices that use coils with a resistance below 1 Ohm. This type of vaping generally produces more vapour.
Tank: An atomizer with a reservoir to hold e-juice as well as a replaceable coil+wick unit (often referred to as simply a coil, or commercial coil). These coils can be bought and easily replaced once the existing one wears out (starts losing flavour and/or tastes bad).
Temperature Control (TC): A type of regulation used by some mods where the power is regulated in order to maintain a set temperature on the coil. In order for this to work the coil must be made of a specific alloy (such as nickel) which allows the mod to measure the current temperature.
Throat Hit / Throat Kick: This refers to the feeling you get when the vapour hits your throat. It is also often used to describe the harshness of an e-juice - having a strong throat hit means the liquid is harsher. Some vapers prefer a strong throat hit, as it more closely resembles the sensation of smoking.
Titanium: Another alloy used for vaping coils. This is an alternative to nickel in that it also allows the mod to measure the current coil temperature and regulate it.
Vape: The process of inhaling a vapourized e-juice. Also commonly used to refer to a vaping device (as in "my vape").
Vaper: A person who vapes.
Vaping: The habbit (or hobby) of using vaping devices.
Vaper's Tongue: Refers to a loss of taste, usually due to olfactory fatigue. This is temporary and usually subsides after some amount of time.
Venting: When a battery is overloaded, gasses are released from the battery. This is quite dangerous but is mostly confined to the use of mechanical mods and cheap knock-off devices. Most modern vaping devices have safety features built in to prevent this from happening.
Vegetable Glycerine (VG): The other colourless liquid used as a base for e-juice. This liquid is generally speaking responsible for producing the clouds when vaping. This liquid has a relatively high viscosity.
Volt (V): A volt is the unit of electric potential difference, or the size of the force that sends the electrons through a circuit.
Watt (W): A measure for units of power, where 1 watt equals 1 joule per second.
Wick: This feeds e-juice to the coil and is usually made from some material with capillary action (i.e. able to suck up liquids); cotton (especially Japanese cotton) is a common material used for wicks.