An Oxford English Dictionary is shown at the headquarters of the Associated Press in New York. The book is black with gold lettering.

Linguist explains how slang like ‘rizz’ comes into being, catches fire with younger generations

If you hadn’t heard the word “rizz” prior to it being declared this year’s Oxford University Press “word of the year” this week, you’re probably not alone.

The viral neologism, which is short for “charisma” and has come to mean “style, charm, or attractiveness,” is almost exclusively the linguistic territory of Gen Z.

But this week, it’s enjoying newfound virality thanks to the increasing popularity of the annual word of the year lists put together by the leading dictionaries, says Adam Cooper, a teaching professor of linguistics at Northeastern.

“It helps people to kind of reflect on what’s transpired over the last 12 months, and to think about where we, as a culture and a society, where our headspace is, so to speak,” Cooper says of the “word of the year” concept.

Read more from Northeastern Global News. 

Photo by AP Photo/Caleb Jones, File

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