Word of the year: what does 'Rizz' mean, when did Tom Holland use it - full list of shortlisted words from 'Swiftie' to 'beige flag'

'Rizz' has been named Oxford word of the year after Tom Holland made it go viral in June - beating words such as 'Swiftie' and 'beige flag'
'Rizz' has been named Oxford word of the year after Tom Holland made it go viral in June - beating words such as 'Swiftie' and 'beige flag'. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)'Rizz' has been named Oxford word of the year after Tom Holland made it go viral in June - beating words such as 'Swiftie' and 'beige flag'. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)
'Rizz' has been named Oxford word of the year after Tom Holland made it go viral in June - beating words such as 'Swiftie' and 'beige flag'. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

The Oxford word of the year has been named and it is an internet slang word mostly used by young people - rizz. You might not have heard of it before, and if you haven’t we unveil what it is and whether you have it.

Eight words were on the shortlist, all chosen to reflect the mood of this year. This list was narrowed down in a public vote, before Oxford lexicographers made the final decision.

The word ‘Swiftie’ was one on the shortlist - referring to an enthusiastic fan of the singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. The term has racked up an incredible 40.7 billion views on the social media platform TikTok. The star will be wrapping up her Eras Tour at Wembley Stadium next summer, treating fans to an incredible eight shows at the world-famous venue.

The word of the year, “rizz” was first recorded in 2022, according to Oxford. But it went viral in June, after the actor Tom Holland, in an said in an interview with BuzzFeed: “I have no rizz whatsoever. I have limited rizz.”

'Rizz' has been named Oxford word of the year after Tom Holland made it go viral in June - beating words such as 'Swiftie' and 'beige flag'. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)'Rizz' has been named Oxford word of the year after Tom Holland made it go viral in June - beating words such as 'Swiftie' and 'beige flag'. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)
'Rizz' has been named Oxford word of the year after Tom Holland made it go viral in June - beating words such as 'Swiftie' and 'beige flag'. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

What does ‘rizz’ mean and do I have it?

The word ‘rizz’ is internet slang for romantic appeal or charm. According to Oxford University Press, which publishes the Oxford English Dictionary, 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 can also be used as a verb, in sayings such as "to rizz up", which means to attract, seduce, or chat someone up. It's essentially a newer version of "game", defined as skill, prowess, and the ability to attract others sexually by using one's charm.

Casper Grathwohl, president at Oxford Languages, said it's interesting that a word like ‘rizz’ has come to the forefront. He said the word possibly spoke 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". He added that the rise in use of the word rizz proved that words and phrases that derive from internet culture "are increasingly becoming part of day-to-day vernacular".

What were the words shortlisted this year?

The competing words for this year were:

  • ‘Rizz’: style, charm, or attractiveness; the ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner.

  • ‘Swiftie’: an enthusiastic fan of the singer Taylor Swift.

  • ‘De-influencing’: the practice of discouraging people from buying particular products, or of encouraging people to reduce their consumption of material goods, esp. via social media.

  • ‘Beige flag’: a character trait that indicates that a partner or potential partner is boring or lacks originality; (also) a trait or habit, esp. of a partner or potential partner, viewed as extremely characteristic, but not distinctly good or bad.

  • ‘Heat dome’: a persistent high-pressure weather system over a particular geographic area, which traps a mass of hot air below it.

  • ‘Prompt’: an instruction given to an artificial intelligence program, algorithm, etc., which determines or influences the content it generates.

  • ‘Parasocial’: designating a relationship characterised by the one-sided, unreciprocated sense of intimacy felt by a viewer, fan, or follower for a well-known or prominent figure (typically a media celebrity), in which the follower or fan comes to feel (falsely) that they know the celebrity as a friend.

  • ‘Situationship’: a romantic or sexual relationship that is not considered to be formal or established.

What was the word of the year in 2022?

Last year “goblin mode” was chosen by the public as the 2022 Oxford word of the year. The term refers to “a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations”.

“Metaverse” was the second choice, followed by “#IStandWith”. Goblin mode won a landslide victory: it was selected by 318,956 people, making up 93%of the overall vote.

Listed are the words shortlisted last year:

  • ‘Metaverse’: A (hypothetical) virtual reality environment in which users interact with one another’s avatars and their surroundings in an immersive way, sometimes posited as a potential extension of or replacement for the internet, world wide web, social media, etc.

  • ‘#IStandWith’: Used on social media to express solidarity with a specified cause, group, person, etc.

  • ‘Goblin mode’: A type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations; frequently in in goblin mode or go goblin mode.

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