FPJ Editorial: What’s In A Word?

FPJ Editorial: What’s In A Word?

What’s in a word, one may ask, but what if it was to convey a wealth of meaning and typify the world one is living in?

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Tuesday, December 12, 2023, 12:46 AM IST
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Rizz Word of the Year 2023 | X/@OxUniPress

The choice of “rizz” as the word of the year by the venerable Oxford University Press is as much a nod to the role of social media as the influence of Generation Z in contemporary language and usage. Rizz which is slang for “style, charm or attractiveness” as well as the “ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner” may have been derived from the word charisma. The word gained traction after an interview with popular Hollywood star Tom Holland, in which he said he had “no rizz whatsoever”, went viral. It spawned a multitude of memes forcing OUP to take note of the popularity of the word which can also be used as a verb. Rizz beat out words such as Swiftie (fans of singer Taylor Swift), situationship (an undefined romantic relationship) and prompt (guiding an AI query).

''Goblin Mode''

In 2022 Oxford’s word of the year was “goblin mode” which signified behaviour that was unabashedly self-indulgent, lazy or greedy rejecting social norms or expectations. It typified people’s attitude in the year that they were grappling with the Covid pandemic and faced long spells of self-isolation. Today’s post-Covid world is much more sociable and company-seeking. Hence, the choice of “rizz”. In fact, the word of the year often reflects the mood of the world. In 2021 the word of the year was “vax”, at a time when the world was roiled by controversy over Covid vaccines and their efficacy. In 2019 the word of the year was “climate emergency”, again a reflection of the threat of global warming. Words of the year such as “selfie” and “post-truth” are now part of the urban dictionary. What’s in a word, one may ask, but what if it was to convey a wealth of meaning and typify the world one is living in?

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