Oxford’s Word of the Year for 2023

Olga Ganovicheva / shutterstock.com
Olga Ganovicheva / shutterstock.com

As we draw near the end of the year, Oxford has officially decided on the word of the year. Let’s just say it’s one you may not have heard of before.

According to Oxford, which puts out the “Word of the Year” award annually, one of the most used words of 2023 is “rizz.”

Don’t worry; I had never heard of it either.

In fact, the only people who probably have heard of it are youths engrained in pop culture.

As the New York Times reported, like most words of today’s youth, it is a form of slang derived from a longer word, now given a slightly different meaning.

It comes from the word “charisma,” and like its parent word, it refers to the “style, charm, or attractiveness” of a person. It can also refer to “the ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner.”

As I said, I had never heard of it before. And I have a sixteen-year-old.

According to Oxford, the word was first heard in 2022, but it wasn’t until this year that it really seemed to explode.

“Rizz” beat out runner-ups “prompt,” as in “prompts” given to artificial intelligence systems, and “situationship,” or a rather complicated or nontraditional relationship.

Both of these words seem to be a bit more relevant, if not ominous, than the winner. Another runner up was “Swiftie,” used to refer to a true and die-hard Taylor Swift fan, as she has seemingly taken over the music world in the last year.

Usually, Oxford’s word of the year does fairly well at describing the kind of year the world had, or at least the Western world. In 2020, the word was “words of an unprecedented year,” naturally. In 2021, it was “vax” and all of its permutations.

2022’s isn’t quite as good, although it does well to describe how society has changed since COVID. It was “goblin mode,” a slang term describing a “self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy” behavior.

And this year, we have “rizz.” Do you think it pairs well with the year we’ve had?