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Everything you need to know about ‘rizz,’ but were afraid to ask

Oxford University Press has named “rizz″ as its word of the year.Caleb Jones/Associated Press

“W rizz” all around for the Oxford University Press Word of the Year.

For those that don’t speak Gen Z, at least not fluently, all this fuss over “rizz” might be a bit confusing. Does it have anything to do with the character Rizzo from the movie “Grease?” (probably not since it came out 45 years ago). The crime show Rizzoli and Isles maybe?

To spare you the humiliation of having to ask your teenage relative and endure their world-weary eyerolls, here’s everything you need to know about rizz. It’s short for “charisma,” but that’s not the full story.

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Oxford defines rizz as “style, charm, or attractiveness; the ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner.”

But to Gen Z, the term often means more than someone’s confidence, sense of humor, or the ability to flirt. It can be used to describe social interactions and the connection between two people. And you don’t have to be movie-star cool to have rizz. Nice, thoughtful people who are comfortable in their own skin can have it, too.

A few examples.

If a social interaction (romantic or otherwise) goes well, that is W rizz, if it goes poorly, that is L rizz. W is for win and L for loss.

Did the conversation flow with good banter? They’ve got rizz.

Was it awkward, and not in a cute, romantic way? They don’t have rizz.

Here are a few other common phrases to help understand rizz-talk.

  • It can be used as a verb. “I rizzed them up” is what someone might say to their friends after they chatted someone up and it went well. This can refer to romantic relationships, sweet-talking someone into seeing things your way, or just handling a situation smoothly.
  • “She’s got mad rizz” is a high compliment. It can mean someone is especially charming or is skilled at flirting. It can be used as encouragement for asking someone out and in celebration if they say yes. It is also used to describe someone a lot of people are attracted to, either romantically or in general.
  • “Rizz god” is a step up from having “mad rizz,” meaning they are the ultimate rizzer. Not to be thrown around lightly.
  • “Unspoken rizz” is another way of saying two people have chemistry so obvious that it’s clear to everyone around them. It could be the way they look at each other or their body language, but there’s a spark.

The top eight words of the year were brought to social media where the public could vote, according to Oxford. The list was cut to four and Oxford experts did another analysis to determine the winner.

The three finalists for the Oxford Word of the Year were:

  • Swiftie: A passionate fan of Taylor Swift, Spotify’s 2023 Artist of the Year.
  • Prompt: Instructions given to AI.
  • Situationship: A relationship between two people that is stuck between a friendship and a romantic relationship.

But while Swift was beaten out for word of the year, few would doubt her rizz.

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Talia Lissauer can be reached at talia.lissauer@globe.com. Follow her on Instgram @_ttphotos.