‘Rizz’ is Oxford University Press’s Word of the Year 2023. And if you’re wondering why (or what it is), read on.
Are you the rizzler or are you rizzless? Is your favorite Philippine hero Jose Rizzal? Is Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Rizzkaban the best movie in the series? If you answered anything along the lines of “What could you possibly be talking about?”, then perhaps you’re not as chronically online as those familiar with the word rizz, Oxford University Press’ Word of The Year in 2023.
Rizz is a noun that, according to Oxford, means “style, charm, or attractiveness” or “the ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner.” Basically, you have rizz = you have game. You could charm the pants off someone. Rizz is said to be an abbreviation of charisma (and it’s way easier to explain it that way) and has been used both as a noun and a verb. It’s been gaining traction the last two years or so, and after 32,000 votes and with a team of language experts, Oxford University Press crowned the Gen Z slang as Word of the Year. So, how did we get here?
O-RIZZ-GIN AND VIRALITY
While etymology is a tricky thing, it’s been said that the colloquial use of the word rizz began with Twitch streamer and YouTuber Kai Cenat, who said it was simply part of his and his friends’ vernacular. He even added that it actually wasn’t a shortened form of charisma, but barely anything changes whether it is or is not as both words can be understood in very similar ways.
How to develop "rizz" according to Tom Holland:— BuzzFeed Celeb (@BuzzFeedCeleb) June 14, 2023
1. make a movie with them
2. be their love interest
3. play the long game
Catch Tom answering 30 questions on buzzfeed celeb! Video out tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/b2colDfafA
As with any slang, the word spread (literally) throughout 2022 and 2023, and its popularity spiked in 2023, what with Spider-Man himself Tom Holland going viral in June for using the word in an interview with Buzzfeed Celeb. The usage of the word itself has evolved, spawning terms like “unspoken rizz”, “rizzler”, “rizzless”, “rizz (someone) up”, and so much more.
For instance, this TikToker, with a bio claiming they’re the “The Serial Rizzler”, initiates “rizz-and-runs”, where she flirts with people with a pickup line and immediately runs away, eliciting total confusion and perhaps a little bit of gratification. There’s also unspoken rizz, which could be explained by this TikTok, where a young woman just hands her phone to a guy, and he types in his number. Rizz.
WORDS OF THE YEAR
On the publishing house’s website, they explain that the Oxford Word of the Year is “a word or expression that has attracted a great deal of interest over the last 12 months.” Each year, the Oxford team pitches, debates, and chooses finalists for the title, based on usage derived from its corpus and relevance to the English-speaking populace.
They then encourage people to vote for the title finalists and eventually bestow the title of Word of the Year on a word that is “judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year and to have lasting potential as a word of cultural significance.” Rizz beat out prompt, situationship, Swiftie, and other words for the title.
The news just posted the definition of “Rizz”— iAMLEE (@Leeisme808) December 4, 2023
So unserious 🤦🏽♀️😂😂😂
Compared to Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year, authentic, rizz seems to be a little more unserious. Authentic was chosen because of its use in association with discourse about artificial intelligence, celebrity culture, identity, and social media. However, Gen Z’s impact on language, exacerbated by social media, is proof of the generation’s influential power and can’t be dismissed.
Continue Reading: Gaslighting And Goblin Mode Are The Words Of The Year