Gen Z have been accused of ruining the English language after the Oxford word of the year has been revealed to be “rizz”, a word which describes someone with charisma, style and romantic appeal.
A team of experts and tens of thousands of public voters selected the colloquial term as the word that best encapsulates 2023.
The term, which is mainly used by Gen Z, beat out other popular words including “Swifie”, used to describe fans of Taylor Swift, and “situationship”, a romantic relationship that lacks commitment.
The word increased significantly in popularity this year, peaking in June when Spider-Man actor Tom Holland was asked about his rizz.
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He said: “I have no rizz whatsoever. I have limited rizz,” before explaining he won over his girlfriend Zendaya by playing the “long game”.
The word is often used as a hashtag on TikTok, with billions of views on the tag.
According to Oxford University Press (OUP), which publishes the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), it is defined as style, charm, or attractiveness, and the ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner.
The term is thought to be a shortened form of the word “charisma”.
It was one of eight words on a shortlist, all chosen as they captured part of 2023.
The list was narrowed down in a public vote before Oxford lexicographers made the final decision.
The OED said rizz was an “interesting example” of how language can be formed.
“It speaks to how younger generations create spaces – online or in person – where they own and define the language they use. From activism to dating and wider culture, as Gen Z comes to have more impact on society, differences in perspectives and lifestyle play out in language, too,” said the OUP.
The winning entry has divided social media users.
One user said: “Give me strength! Rizz is the word of the year? I don’t even know what it means.”
Another added: “Rizz? I have never heard of this word. I have 2 ‘Gen Z’ aged children and I’m a secondary school teacher, & still have not heard a single person say this! Is it just me?”
According to Oxford University Press (OUP), which publishes the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), rizz is defined as style, charm, or attractiveness, and the ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner.
Whilst a third jabbed: “Rizz is the word of the year, according to a publication Gen Z will never read.”
A fourth said: “Rizz winning the award for best new word in the English language is absolutely abhorrent.”
However, others were more welcoming of the OED 2023 word of the year recipient.
One said: “Rizz is the best word invented in the last century,” whilst another celebrated: “Let’s gooooo!”
A third concluded: “If you have to look it up, you haven't got it.”
Another user commented: “Although this word is cringey, it clearly beats out the others in terms of popularity lol.
Meanwhile, a fifth user joked: “I love rizz because gen z came up with the most 1920’s hardboiled detective sounding slang possible for some reason.”