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Oxford names ‘rizz’ word of the year

Oxford University Press (OUP), the publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary, named “rizz” the word of the year for 2023.

Rizz is defined as style, charm or attractiveness, or one’s ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner. It’s often associated with younger generations and is widely used online.

“Rizz was chosen by the language experts at OUP as an interesting example of how language can be formed, shaped, and shared within communities, before being picked up more widely,” OUP said in a release. “It speaks to how younger generations create spaces ­— online or in person — where they own and define the language they use.”

OUP said it’s likely that more words derived from social media and internet culture will be used in everyday language over time. Words and phrases are being shared via social media and catching on so quickly that they are surpassing previous linguistic trends and are becoming mainstream much quicker.

“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,” Oxford Languages President Casper Grathwohl said in a statement.

OUP said the word is believed to be a shortened form of the word charisma, taken from the middle part of the word. Similar examples include refrigerator becoming fridge and influenza, commonly called flu. Rizz can also be used as a verb. To “rizz up” means to attract, seduce or chat up a person, OUP said.

OUP said the word reached its peak popularity in June of this year after actor Tom Holland was asked in a Buzzfeed interview about his rizz, to which he said he had “no rizz whatsoever.” The dating app Tinder also introduced a “rizz-first redesign” this year in an effort to bring in more younger users.

Members of the public voted on social media to narrow down the shortlist of words chosen by the experts. This year’s picks included rizz, beige flag, Swiftie, de-influencing, prompt, heat dome, situationship and parasocial.

“It has been incredible to see the public once again enjoying being a part of the Word of the Year selection,” Grathwohl’s statement said. “Witnessing 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.

Each year, OUP chooses a word or expression that has reflected the last 12 months and has potential to have lasting cultural significance or provides a snapshot into history. The 2021 word of the year, for example, was vax, after COVID-19 vaccines were released.

The announcement comes just after Merriam-Webster also named rizz one of the top words of 2023.

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