And the word of the year goes to... er, ‘rizz’?
By Tom Cotterill
CHARMING a potential partner used to be as simple as starting with ‘hello’.
But nowadays it seems matters of the heart are more complicated, with internet slang slipping into common use, and language experts have even crowned ‘rizz’ as the word of the year.
The term, an online colloquialism for ‘romantic appeal’ or charm, was selected by the Oxford University Press (OUP) from a shortlist decided by a public vote.
An interview with Spider-Man star Tom Holland fuelled a boom in its use among Generation Z – those born between the mid to late 1990s and the early 2010s.
Recorded uses of the term peaked in June when Holland, 27, was asked about his ‘rizz’ in a widely shared clip.
The actor said: ‘I have no rizz whatsoever. I have limited rizz. My brother Paddy has ultimate rizz’ before Holland explained that he won over his actress girlfriend Zendaya by playing the ‘long game’.
The term is used extensively online, with billions of views of the hashtag ‘rizz’ on TikTok. According to the OUP, ‘rizz’ is defined as style, charm, attractiveness or the ability to attract a romantic partner.
Linguistic experts believe ‘rizz’ comes from a shortened version of the word charisma. It can also be used as a verb, in phrases such as ‘to rizz up’, which means to attract, seduce, or charm a suitor.
The term was selected from a shortlist of eight words which OUP experts, who publish the Oxford English Dictionary, said reflected the mood of the year. Other popular entries on the list included ‘Swiftie’, which was defined as an enthusiastic fan of the singer Taylor Swift, and ‘beige flag’ which is a character trait that indicates that a partner or potential partner is boring or lacks originality.
Last year, the slang term ‘goblin mode’, defined as a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent or lazy, was chosen as Oxford’s word of the year.
In 2021, Oxford’s word of the year was ‘vax’ and Merriam-Webster’s was ‘vaccine’, a reflection of the Covid pandemic.
dmg media (UK)