Oxford University Press Crowns "Rizz" 2023's Word of the Year

The world’s second-oldest academic press has unmatched rizz.

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Catalyzed by Kai Cenat (per his “rizz tips” videos) and abetted by Tom Holland (“I have no rizz whatsoever. I have limited rizz.”), “rizz” has taken over 2023 – and even Oxford University Press, publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary, agrees.

Defined as “style, charm or attractiveness,” or “the ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner,” “rizz” has officially taken the top spot as 2023’s Word of the Year. The Oxford English Dictionary also notes that the term can be used as a verb in phrases such as “to rizz up” – meaning “to attract, seduce, or chat up (a person).”

Per a statement by Oxford University Press, “Our language experts chose ‘rizz’ as an interesting example of how language can be formed, shaped, and shared within communities, before being picked up more widely in society. It speaks to how younger generations now have spaces, online or otherwise, to own and define the language they use. From activism to dating and wider culture, as Gen Z comes to have more impact on society, differences in perspectives and lifestyle play out in language, too.”

Oxford’s Word of the Year aims to “reflect the ethos, mood or preoccupations” of the preceding year, while also possessing “potential as a term of lasting cultural significance.” This year, the Oxford team compiled a list of eight words – four head-to-head thematic pairings – and let the public narrow it down to their four favorites. The others? “Swiftie,” “prompt” and “situationship,” which faced off against “de-influencing,” “heat dome” and “parasocial”, respectively. After tallying nearly 30,000 votes, the team at Oxford then made the final call on “rizz.” Find the full list of words below.

Swiftie vs. de-influencing

  • Swiftie (n.): an enthusiastic fan of the singer Taylor Swift.
  • de-influencing (n.): the practice of discouraging people from buying particular products, or of encouraging people to reduce their consumption of material goods, esp. via social media.

beige flag vs. rizz

  • beige flag (n.): a character trait that indicates that a partner or potential partner is boring or lacks originality; (also) a trait or habit, esp. of a partner or potential partner, viewed as extremely characteristic, but not distinctly good or bad.
  • rizz (n.): style, charm, or attractiveness; the ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner.

heat dome vs. prompt

  • heat dome (n.): a persistent high-pressure weather system over a particular geographic area, which traps a mass of hot air below it.
  • prompt (n.): an instruction given to an artificial intelligence program, algorithm, etc., which determines or influences the content it generates.

parasocial vs. situationship

  • parasocial (adj.): designating a relationship characterized by the one-sided, unreciprocated sense of intimacy felt by a viewer, fan, or follower for a well-known or prominent figure (typically a media celebrity), in which the follower or fan comes to feel (falsely) that they know the celebrity as a friend.
  • situationship (n.): a romantic or sexual relationship that is not considered to be formal or established.

“Given that last year ‘goblin mode’ resonated with so many of us following the pandemic, it’s interesting to see a contrasting word like rizz come to the forefront,” explained Casper Grathwohl, the president of Oxford Languages. “[This] perhaps speaks to a prevailing mood of 2023 where more of us are opening ourselves up after a challenging few years and finding confidence in who we are.”

 

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