The word of 2023 – Rizz

By Maria Szin

‘Rizz’ has been selected as the 2023 word of the year by Oxford University Press, the prestigious publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary. Words like “beige flag,” “de-influencing,” “swiftie,” and “situationship” were among the candidates for this title. The words chosen having the potential to hold cultural significance in the future, and the selection attempts to capture the essence, tone, or issues of the previous year. The selection of words is based on how frequently they appear in the English press.

The phrase ‘Rizz’ refers to style, appeal, or the capacity to attract a romantic or sexual partner. It can also be used as a verb, as in ‘to rizz up,’ which means to seduce or captivate someone. The term, derived from the word ‘charisma,’ is a modern version of the term ‘game,’ referring to the capacity to draw someone by one’s charm.

Kai Cenat, a YouTuber and Twitch streamer who popularised the word among friends, is credited with popularising it. The term gained traction in June, especially after actor Tom Holland referenced it in an interview with BuzzFeed. In the interview, Holland joked that he lacked ‘rizz’ and attributed this to his success in wooing Zendaya over time.

The selection of ‘rizz’ as the word of the year emphasises the fluid nature of language, with internet slang playing an increasingly important role in influencing linguistic trends. As we approach 2024, it will be fascinating to see how ‘rizz’ and other such concepts develop and blend into everyday conversation.

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