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Oxford University Press crowns ‘rizz’ as Word of the Year 2023

The Oxford University Press (OUP) has picked ‘rizz,’ a slang term for romantic charm or appeal, as the word of the year for 2023. This internet slang term is primarily used by young people. It was chosen from a shortlist of eight words. They all reflect the mood, ethos, or preoccupations of 2023.

What is ‘rizz’?

“Rizz” is a relatively new term, thought to be a shortened form of “charisma.” It encompasses style, charm and attractiveness. The term can also be used as a verb. For example, “to rizz up,” meaning to attract, seduce, or chat someone up.

Why was ‘rizz’ chosen as Word of the Year?

OUP explains that the word “rizz” saw a significant increase in usage in 2023. Particularly on social media platforms like TikTok. This widespread use, combined with its relevance to dating trends, made it a strong contender for word of the year.

Other words on the shortlist

The shortlist of eight words included:

  • Beige flag: A character trait indicating that a partner or potential partner is boring or lacks originality.
  • Situationship: A romantic or sexual relationship that is not considered to be formal or established.
  • Parasocial: A one-sided, unreciprocated sense of intimacy felt by a viewer, fan, or follower for a well-known or prominent figure.
  • Heat dome: A persistent high-pressure weather system that traps a mass of hot air below it.
  • Swiftie: An enthusiastic fan of the singer Taylor Swift.
  • Prompt: An instruction given to an AI program to determine or influence the content it generates.
  • De-influencing: The practice of discouraging people from buying particular products. Or, more generally, encouraging them to reduce their consumption.

The selection of ‘rizz’ as word of the year highlights the increasing influence of internet culture on language and the ever-evolving nature of communication, particularly among young people. The word of the year for 2022 was “goblin mode”. It is slang used to describe “unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy” behaviour. The word gained popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic as people embraced a more relaxed and carefree lifestyle.