Rizz, you either have it or you don’t.
The popular Gen Z slang has been announced as the word of the year by Oxford University Press, the publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary. Meaning “style, charm or attractiveness”, it can also be used to describe “someone’s ability to attract a romantic partner”.
It beat other contenders such as “Swiftie” (an enthusiastic fan of Taylor Swift), “situationship” (a noncommittal romantic relationship) and “prompt” (an instruction given to an artificial intelligence programme).
The word is a shortened form of “charisma” and went viral after Spider-Man star Tom Holland used it in an interview. “I have no rizz whatsoever. I have limited rizz.” He later explained that he won over his girlfriend Zendaya by playing the “long game”.
This generated a multiple memes and overall usage of the word surged by a factor of about 15 from the past year, according to the publisher.
Oxford’s Word of the Year is based on usage from its continually updated list of more than 22 billion words, gathered from news sources across the English-speaking world.
“It has been incredible to see the public once again enjoying being a part of the Word of the Year selection. Seeing thousands of people debate and discuss language like this really highlights the power it has in helping us to understand who we are, and process what’s happening to the world around us,” said Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford Languages.
“Given that last year ‘goblin mode’ resonated with so many of us following the pandemic, it’s interesting to see a contrasting word like 'rizz' come to the forefront, perhaps speaking 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.”
Rizz joins a growing list of already crowned words of the year from other dictionaries. Merriam-Webster’s is "authentic" (true to one's own personality, spirit or character); Cambridge Dictionary's is "hallucinate" (to seem to see, hear, feel or smell something that does not exist, usually because of a health condition or a drug); and Collins English Dictionary has gone with "AI" (an abbreviation for artificial intelligence, the modelling of human mental functions by computer programmes).