Oxford Dictionary Rizz-es Its Way Into The New Year

Oxford Dictionary has chosen their word of the year and it has rizzed its way into our hearts.

Book Culture Book News
Black and white dictionary being flipped through from over the shoulder of someone.

Oxford University Press, the publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary, has got rizz. This word might be new to people, or it might be one of those words people wish they never had to hear again. The Gen Z slang for romantic appeal and charm beat out other contender’s such as prompt, situationship and Swiftie for the spot of 2023’s word of the year. Here’s why this word of the year is something to be proud of.

History of Rizz; The Rizzstory

According to Oxford, Rizz is a noun, or verb, that means style, charm, attractiveness, or the general ability to attract a romantic partner. Rizz is a shortened version of the word charisma which has a similar meaning. The origin of rizz can be traced back to Twitch streamer Kai Cenat who makes a living playing video games, talking with celebrities, and hanging out with his friends for thousands and thousands of viewers. On his live stream, Cenat has talked about approaching women and used the word rizz to explain how a woman goes from being uninterested in him to being interested and intrigued.

Block letters that spell out "learn" on top of blank block letters.
IMAGE VIA PEXELS / PIXABAY

Following Kai’s creation and definition of the word, Tom Holland was quoted in a BuzzFeed article saying he had no rizz whatsoever. This humble comment by Holland, who certainly has rizz, caused an increase in the frequency of the word being used. The month of June saw rizz peak in popularity thanks to Holland.

The English Language Has Rizz

The English language is difficult to learn and sometimes intimidating, but it is also malleable and subject to change. As new generations come to learn and speak the language it evolves and changes. Rizz is a prime example of a new and younger generation creating vocabulary they identify with. It’s natural for a language to evolve and grow, especially when a new generation finds their voice.

Woman reading a Shakespeare poetry book.
IMAGE VIA PEXELS / JJ JORDAN

English as a whole is difficult to grasp and understand. There are so many different dialects and accents that can completely change the meaning of a word. But that’s also what makes it so great. When words like rizz that previously meant nothing can find meaning just by people associating meaning to it grows the language in ways that would make Shakespeare, the man who created nearly two thousand words, proud.

Don’t Close Your Eyes by Lynessa Layne

Book cover for Don't Close Your Eyes which depicts a woman's face, her eyes closed and her mouth open. The bottom text reads Lynessa Layne, the author of the book.
IMAGE VIA BOOKSHOP

In the spirit of rizz, here’s the first book in a series some of the romantic lovers might like. Don’t Close Your Eyes by Lynessa Layne follows Kinsley as she is forced to choose between an enigmatic man who has reentered her life and an old friend who recently expressed his love for her. Her two potential love interests find that they have to work together to protect her from her past.

This year’s Oxford word of the year is certainly a strange slang word, but one that should be celebrated. It’s an example of how vast the english language can be. Gen Z has found their language and Oxford is displaying the magic of slang for everyone to understand and appreciate.


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