The Internet has done its thing again. Dictionary publisher Oxford University Press which publishes the Oxford English Dictionary has chosen its Word Of The Year (WOTY) for 2023. And the word is… *drumroll*… “RIZZ!” The word blew up on the Internet long enough to become the WOTY. Oxford defines the viral term, ‘rizz’ which is short for charisma, as “someone’s ability to attract another person through style, charm, or attractiveness.

It refers to the potential of an individual to attract a romantic or sexual partner. “Rizz” can also be used as a verb, most commonly in the phrase “rizz up,” which means “to attract, seduce, or chat someone up,” as per Oxford. Another popular iteration of the word is “rizzler,” a title given to individuals who embody a lot of “rizz.” Oxford’s Word of the Year 2023 — which was selected by a team of language experts and more than 32,000 votes — has become a staple of Gen-Z- and Gen-Alpha slang since it was first coined.

‘Rizz’ even received the Merriam-Webster stamp of approval in September, becoming one of 690 new words to get added to the renowned dictionary. The word was one of eight words on a shortlist, all chosen to reflect the mood, ethos or preoccupations of 2023. The list was narrowed down in a public vote before Oxford language experts made the final decision. The contenders of ‘rizz’ ranged from “Swiftie” to “beige flag” to “situationship” to “prompt.”

Also Read: GTA VI Trailer: A Game-Changer in the Making

What is ‘rizz,’ and do you have it?

If you are good at chatting up or flirting with potential partners, you may already have ‘rizz,’ without knowing it. You have to be from Generation Z in order to know these slang words. Since it’s massively used online garnering billions of views from the hashtag “rizz” on TikTok. It is essentially a newer version of “game“, defined as skill, prowess, and the ability to attract others sexually by using one’s charm.

The shortlist of eight words was selected by the language experts at Oxford University Press. That list was then put to a public vote in late November, reducing the field to four finalists, before the experts made the final selection.

rizz word of the year oxford university press surge 2023

The Top Contenders

Prompt: The word was considered for the WOTY given its relevance to AI. The Oxford Dictionary defined “prompt,” as “an instruction given to an artificial intelligence program, algorithm, etc., which determines or influences the content it generates.”

Situationship: Popularized by social media and dating shows, “situationship” merges “situation” and “relationship” to refer to “a romantic or sexual relationship that is not considered to be formal or established.” It was considered because it “captures the uncertainty and lack of formalization that many people feel about their relationships.”

Swiftie: The last finalist, this is a title reserved for only the most “enthusiastic” fans of Taylor Swift — who went on tour and came out a billionaire.

rizz word of the year oxford university press contenders

 Other Word of the Year runners-up included “beige flag,” “de-influencing,” “heat dome” and “parasocial.”

What do the shortlisted words mean?

  • Beige flag: 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.
  • Parasocial: 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.
  • Heat dome: A persistent high-pressure weather system over a particular geographic area, which traps a mass of hot air below it.
  • De-influencing: The practice of discouraging people from buying particular products, or of encouraging people to reduce their consumption of material goods, esp. via social media.

The Celebrity Rizz

YouTuber and Twitch streamer Kai Cenat is widely credited as having popularised the term ‘rizz,’ which he used with his friends. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the use of the word has increased dramatically this year — and in June, Tom Holland even fielded a question about the “secret” of his “rizz” in a BuzzFeed interview.

Holland responded by saying that he has “no need for Rizz” because he is “happy and in love” with girlfriend Zendaya. Holland replied “I have no rizz whatsoever. I have limited rizz,” before explaining he won over his girlfriend Zendaya by playing the “long game“.

Other stars who have weighed in on the word include Tom Hanks and George Clooney, who both declared that “if you claim to have rizz, you don’t have rizz,” on BBC’s The One Show. “It’s gotta be placed upon you,” Hanks added.

rizz word of the year oxford university press tom holland

Last year’s Oxford Word Of The Year was “goblin mode, another slang term describing ‘unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy‘ behaviour. Casper Grathwohl, president at Oxford Languages, said that while “goblin mode” had resonated with many people after the pandemic, “it’s interesting to see a contrasting word like rizz come to the forefront“.

He said the word possibly spoke 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”. Mr. Grathwohl added that the rise in the use of the word ‘rizz’ proved that words and phrases that derive from internet culture “are increasingly becoming part of day-to-day vernacular”.

Super interesting, isn’t it?