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"Rizz" Is Oxford's Word Of The Year. But Why & What Does It Mean?

Gen Zs taking over the world, one word at a time.

Cover image via BuzzFeed Celeb (YouTube)

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Oxford University has crowned "rizz" as their 2023 Word of the Year

On 4 December 2023, the Oxford University Press (OUP) announced that it had chosen "rizz" as its word of the year.

It was one of eight words on a shortlist, all chosen to reflect and encapsulate the mood, mindset, or fixations of the year 2023.

Then, the list was narrowed down through a public vote, before Oxford's language experts made the final decision.

Last year, the OUP named 'goblin mode' its 2022 Word of the Year, as the word captured the public's post-pandemic mood. The phrase is used to describe "unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy" behaviour.

If you're wondering what "rizz" means, you're not alone

And no, it's not a nickname for "Rizzo". It's a fairly new word, more commonly used among the Gen Z peeps.

Image via googleapis.com

The OUP states that "rizz" is believed to originate from the word, "charisma". Taken from the middle part of the word, it is used to describe someone's ability to attract or charm another person. But the word can also be used as a verb, as in to "rizz up", or chat someone up.

So, the word isn't entirely made up.

Image via Tenor

"Rizz" beat out other contenders such as "Swiftie" (an enthusiastic Taylor Swift fan), "situationship" (an informal romantic or sexual relationship), and "prompt" (an instruction given to an artificial intelligence program) for the title.

The OUP shared that "rizz" signifies the growing influence of Gen Z on society.

"It speaks to how younger generations now have spaces, online or otherwise, to own and define the language they use," the OUP said.

The term became more popular after actor Tom Holland was asked about his "rizz" game in a BuzzFeed interview

The Spider-Man: No Way Home actor declared that he had "no rizz whatsoever" and explained that he won over girlfriend Zendaya by playing the "long game".

Check out a snippet of that moment here:

The OUP said that overall usage of the word increased by a factor of about 15, after the clip of Holland went viral on social media, reported The Guardian.

Today, the word is widely used online, amassing billions of views under the "rizz" hashtag on TikTok.

Meanwhile, these words were also added to the Oxford Dictionary:

Also, let's normalise sending memes to our friends, because apparently it's a good thing:

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