The most confusing Gen Z terms: 'Rizz' named by Oxford University as word of the year

A group of youth as Gen Z terms confuse people
A new survey has revealed the 20 Gen Z terms that confuse over-45s. (Getty Images)

The Oxford University Press has declared 'rizz' as its word of the year, after a shortlist of mostly Gen Z terms.

For the uninitiated, 'rizz' is slang for charisma, and the Oxford English Dictionary defines at as "style, charm, or attractiveness, and the ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner".

Other words included in the Oxford shortlist for 2023 include 'beige flag', 'situationship', 'parasocial', 'heat dome', 'Swiftie', 'prompt', and 'de-influencing'.

It's no surprise that many of these words are Gen Z dominated, as with each generation comes a new set of slang terms. For Gen X, they loved to throw around ‘chill pill, ‘gnarly’ and ‘diss’, while Millennials preferred ‘Netflix and chill’, ‘AF’, ‘spilling the tea’ and ‘woke’.

Gen Z, the generation born between 1996 and 2012, have already introduced us to ‘mid’, ‘slay’ and ‘main character energy’, but there are a whole host of Gen Z terms that are confusing older generations.

According to a recent survey, the words ‘choong’, ‘leng’ and ‘it slaps’ are the most likely to confuse people aged over 45.

Gen Z has a myriad of modern terms that they use across social media. (Getty Images)
Only a third of Gen Z have heard of the term 'far out'. (Getty Images)

In fact, nearly half (49%) of the 2,000 people polled by Mentos Gum believe that Gen Z has the quirkiest terminology out of all generations.

On the flip side, just 32% of Gen Z respondents had heard of the Baby Boomer term ‘far out’, while 51% of Gen Z had heard of ‘groovy’.

"Every generation invents their own fresh take on slang, and for some, it’s very important to feel up to date with current phrases," a Mentos spokesperson said.

"Staying in the loop with slang is almost like learning phrases in a new language before you go abroad - it can sometimes feel like a necessary way to feel involved in a culture."

With this in mind, below are the most confusing Gen Z terms and their meanings, along with some of the Oxford shortlist.

1. Rizz – short for charisma: "They have so much rizz."

2. Situationship – a romantic relationship that isn't official: "I was in a situationship for three months."

3. Beige flag – a boring character trait: "They love puzzles, that's such a beige flag."

4. Swiftie – a Taylor Swift fan: "You know everything about Taylor Swift, you must be a Swiftie."

5. Parasocial – feeling a relationship towards a prominent figure despite never meeting: "Harry Styles is my parasocial best friend."

6. De-influencing – discouraging people from over consumption: "I was going to buy this rug but then I was de-influenced."

7. Choong – describes someone attractive: “That girl on the train was choong.”

8. Leng – describes a beautiful object or person: “That guy is leng.” or “This painting is leng.”

9. ‘It slaps’ – when something is desirable or good: “This meal slaps.”

10. ‘This hits different’ – something out of the ordinary or better than usual: “I haven’t eaten all day, this pizza hits different.”

11. ‘Charge it’- accept it and move on: “I’m heartbroken” - “Oh well, charge it.”

12. Aired - to be ignored: “I’ve been messaging her all day but she aired me.”

13. Shook – shocked, when you can’t believe what you’re seeing: “I’m shook.”

14. Peng – someone or something very attractive or desirable: “He’s peng.” or “That’s peng.”

15. Boujee – something luxurious: “This restaurant is so boujee.”

16. Snatched – beautiful body or face: “Your make-up is snatched” or “Her body is


17. Fire - something that is really good: “This song is fire.”

18. Lit - good review / drunk: “This party is lit!” or “He’s too lit, don’t let him have more to drink.”

19. Slay - succeeding or looking great: “Your boots slay” or “You slayed in that audition.”

20. ‘Did that’ - if something amazing was done: “You did that” or “That film was amazing, Emma Stone did that with her role.”

21. Gassed – excited: “I can’t believe we got tickets to Glastonbury – I’m gassed!”

22. Drip - describes an outfit, accessory or person: “Your outfit is drippy” or “He had insane drip.”

23. Ick – cringe, something you get: “He ate like a dog, it gave me the ick” or “She’s way too clingy, it’s such an ick.”

24. Fresh - how someone carries themselves, someone that is dressed well: “You look fresh!”

25. Period - ends a statement or to strongly agree: “I’m not talking about this anymore, period”

26. Swag - confidence or charm, someone who is dressed well: “Check out his swag” or “He just has this swag about him.”

Gen Z: Read more

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