“Rizz” Takes Centre Stage as the Word of the Year: Do you have it?


Stockard Channing, center, seen here as Betty "Rizz" Rizzo in the 1978 film Grease.
Stockard Channing, center, seen here as Betty "Rizz" Rizzo in the 1978 film Grease.
The publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary have declared "Rizz" as the Word of the Year for 2023.

This unconventional choice reflects a shift in popular culture, where the term has evolved beyond its traditional usage and taken on a new meaning associated with charisma and charm. The influence of iconic figures like Stockard Channing, particularly in her portrayal of Betty “Rizz” Rizzo in the 1978 film Grease, has undoubtedly played a role in catapulting this term into the lexicon of everyday language.

The Charismatic Connotation

At its core, “Rizz” has come to symbolise charisma and charm, embodying a magnetic quality that draws people in. The term transcends its origins and has become a versatile descriptor for individuals who exude a certain allure and confidence. Much like the character Betty Rizzo in Grease, people now aspire to possess the “Rizz factor,” a blend of wit, confidence, and charm that leaves a lasting impression.

Stockard Channing’s Enduring Influence

Channing’s performance brought the character of Rizzo to life, showcasing a perfect blend of sass, confidence, and charisma. The term “Rizz” became synonymous with the qualities that made Betty Rizzo an unforgettable character, creating a lasting impact on popular culture.

As the word gained traction, people started using it to describe individuals who possessed that special something, an intangible quality that made them stand out in a crowd. The influence of Stockard Channing’s portrayal extended beyond the silver screen, leaving an indelible mark on how society perceives and appreciates charisma.

The inclusion of “Rizz” in the Oxford English Dictionary underscores the fluid nature of language and its ability to adapt to contemporary expressions. The adoption of this term speaks to a cultural shift where individuals are increasingly valuing charm and charisma as essential qualities in personal and professional spheres.



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