The 7 words rizz beat to become the Word of the Year

  • The Oxford University Press has declared “rizz” its Word of the Year.
  • The word beat out Swiftie, prompt and situationship to become the word that best represents “the mood, ethos, or preoccupations of the past year”.
  • The OUP says that rizz highlights how Gen-Z’s language is becoming more popular even in conversations outside of the generation.

Kids say the darnedest things and if you spend enough time on TikTok, you’re bound to pick up a few of the things they say. Don’t ask us why but we fully understand what a skibidi toilet, fanum tax and gyat are.

No, we haven’t had a stroke, those are just words that Gen-Z and Gen-Alpha tend to use when talking to each other. Think of it like “dude”, “rad” or “tubular” from decades past. It makes sense then that when choosing a Word of the Year, Oxford University Press declared “rizz” its Word of the Year.

“This year, we created a shortlist of eight words, all chosen to reflect the mood, ethos, or preoccupations of the past year, and put them to the public to vote for their favourites. Through head-to-head competitions over a four-day voting period, the public narrowed down our shortlist of worthy contenders to four finalists: rizz, Swiftie, prompt, and situationship. These words were then put to our language experts, who considered our corpus data, the vote counts, and the public commentary around the words to choose the definitive word of the year for 2023,” Oxford University Press (OUP) wrote in a release.

Once this process was concluded, “rizz” was declared the winner. Derived from “charisma”, OUP defines rizz as a noun with the meaning “style, charm, or attractiveness; the ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner.”

The full list words that were in the running, and their definitions are listed below:

  • 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 (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 (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 (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.”

“Rizz is a term that has boomed on social media and speaks to how language that enjoys intense popularity and currency within particular social communities‚ÄĒand even in some cases lose their popularity and become pass√©‚ÄĒcan bleed into the mainstream. This is a story as old as language itself, but stories of linguistic evolution and expansion that used to take years can now take weeks or months. The spike in usage data for rizz goes to prove that words and phrases that evolve from internet culture are increasingly becoming part of day-to-day vernacular and will continue to shape language trends in the future,” writes Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Languages.

While it’s easy to dismiss words like rizz or last year’s word of the year, goblin-mode, we think it’s quite fascinating to see the English language evolve. It’s worth keeping in mind that language is an evolving beast, if it wasn’t we’d still be using words like swefn, gereord and middangeard in our daily conversations.

So we encourage you to embrace rizz and the other words that Gen-Z and Gen Alpha will inevitably thrust on society. Is it cringe? Maybe but if you find yourself wanting to get big-mad at the words youngsters are using, just remember how when your parents criticised your language it was giving old man shouts at clouds. Stay skibidi folks.

Okay, we may have had a stroke typing that last paragraph out. The things we do for some rizz right?

[Image – Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash]


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