Oxford's 2023 Word of the Year Is … 'Rizz' 牛津2023年度代表字是…「魅」
It's official. Oxford University Press, the world's second-oldest academic press and publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary, has rizz.
Or at least, like the rest of us over a certain age, it's trying to get some. "Rizz" — Gen Z (or is it Gen Alpha?) slang for "style, charm or attractiveness," or "the ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner" — has been named as Oxford's 2023 Word of the Year, beating out contenders including situationship, prompt, de-influencing and (yes) Swiftie.
That spawned a crush of memes, as overall usage surged by a factor of about 15 over the previous year, according to Oxford's data. Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford Languages, the dictionary division, said this year's choice reflects the way social media has increased the pace of language change exponentially. Plus, he said, the word simply has … rizz.
"One of the reasons it's moving from being a niche social media phrase into the mainstream is, it's just fun to say," he said.
Oxford's Word of the Year is based on usage evidence drawn from its continually updated corpus of more than 22 billion words, gathered from news sources across the English-speaking world. The selection, according to Oxford, is meant "to reflect the ethos, mood or preoccupations" of the preceding year.
This year, the public was invited to cut the shortlist list in half by weighing in on four head-to-head thematic pairings. (Some 30,000 people voted, Oxford said.) Oxford's team then made the final selection.
One pairing, "Swiftie" vs. "de-influencing," related to celebrity culture. Others reflected personal characteristics ("rizz" vs. "beige flag," a characteristic suggesting a partner is boring), the changing world ("prompt" vs. "heat dome") and relationships ("parasocial" vs. "situationship").
Grathwohl guessed, correctly, that the contest would ultimately come down to "Swiftie" vs. "rizz." Which it did, but only after "de-influencing" (the practice of discouraging people from buying particular products, or reducing their consumption more generally) made a strong run at knocking out "Swiftie."
Then they took out a stack of papers. For the next 11 1/2 hours, Ní Néill and others took turns reading out thousands of names — each one a person killed since Israel started bombarding the Gaza Strip in the war, according to a list released by health authorities in Gaza.
It was an attempt to convey the enormity of the loss of life, she said.
In Ireland, support for Palestinian civilians runs deep, rooted in what many see as a shared history of British colonialism and the experience of a seemingly intractable and traumatic conflict, which in Ireland's case came to a close with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
Since the Hamas-led attacks on Israel on Oct. 7 that killed about 1,200 people, according to Israeli authorities, and the subsequent bombardment of Gaza, Ireland has emerged as something of an outlier in Europe for its stance on the conflict.
While condemning the Hamas atrocities, lawmakers across Ireland's political spectrum were among the first in Europe to call for the protection of Palestinian civilians and denounce the scale of Israel's response, which has left more than 15,000 people dead, according to health officials in Gaza — a rate of casualties with few precedents in the 21st century.
Last month, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said he strongly believed that Israel had the right to defend itself, but that what was unfolding in Gaza "resembles something approaching revenge."
Those views are mainstream in Ireland. In a poll published last month, about 71% of respondents classified Israel's response as "disproportionately severe." About 65% also said that Hamas should be officially proscribed as a terrorist organization. Tens of thousands have taken part in weekly protests calling for an end to Israeli attacks on Gaza.
Jane Ohlmeyer, a history professor at Trinity College Dublin and author of "Making Empire: Ireland, Imperialism and the Early Modern World," said the country's status as a former British colony had "undoubtedly shaped how people from Ireland engage with post-colonial conflicts."