What Is Rizz? Breaking Down Oxford's Word of the Year—Partly Made Popular By Tom Holland

Tom Holland may be to thank for popularizing Oxford’s 2023 word of the year “rizz” when he tried to explain his approach to romancing Zendaya.

By Brahmjot Kaur Dec 05, 2023 6:33 PMTags
Watch: Tom Holland Shares What He Appreciates About GF Zendaya

Tom Holland may claim to not have it, but he did help put "rizz" on the map.

After all, it was just named Oxford University Press word of the year. So, what exactly is rizz? Well, the publishing house described it as a "colloquial noun, defined as ‘style, charm, or attractiveness; the ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner.'" More commonly, it's seen as deriving from the "charisma."

As for what this has to do with Tom, he thrust the Gen Z slang into the spotlight after going viral on TikTok while using it.

"I have no rizz whatsoever," he claimed when asked about his charm in a June interview with BuzzFeed. "I have limited rizz." 

But the Uncharted actor was more than happy to be rizz-less.

"I need you to fall in love with me, really, for it to work. So, long game, probably making a movie with each other," he joked, referring to his off-screen romance with Zendaya. "It definitely helps when the characters you're playing are falling in love with one another. "You can sort of blur the lines a little bit. "That's kind of where my rizz is at."

Zendaya, Tom Holland and Others at Cultural Center Opening in India

As he put it. "I'm locked up, so I'm happy and in love. So I've got no need for rizz."

Tom first met the Euphoria star on the set of 2016's Spider-Man: Homecoming

And while their romance became public in 2021, the couple has spoken about why they prefer to keep it out of the spotlight.

Nina Westervelt/Variety via Getty Images

"Our relationship is something that we are incredibly protective of and we want to keep as sacred as possible," The Crowded Room actor told The Hollywood Reporter in June. "We don't think that we owe it to anyone, it's our thing, and it has nothing to do with our careers."

Still, that hasn't stopped him from giving insight into their bond. 

"I'm lucky that I have someone like Zendaya in my life," Tom explained in a July episode of the Smartless podcast. "It's interesting being in a romantic relationship with someone that is in the same boat as you."

The Cherry star added, "You can share your experiences and all that sort of stuff—and that's worth its weight in gold."

Keep reading for some of the couple's golden moments.

June 2023: Tom's "Sexiest" Pic Ever

Tom unveiled this beauty for his 27th birthday, joking on Instagram, "A gift from me to you. I thought I'd share possibly the sexiest picture ever taken of me!" Zendaya was into it, reacting with a heart-eye emoji.

June 2023: Tom's 27th Birthday

Zendaya shared this sweet shot of her boyfriend enjoying the water in honor of his birthday.

December 2021: Spider-Man: No Way Home Premiere in L.A.

The actress, in a custom Valentino gown, and Tom, in a Prada suit, posed for pictures at the premiere of Spider-Man: No Way Home in Los Angeles.

December 2021: Promoting Spider-Man: No Way Home

Tom and Zendaya spoke during SiriusXM Radio's Town Hall with the cast of Spider-Man: No Way Home in New York City.

December 2021: Back to London

The two attended a photo call for Spider-Man: No Way Home at The Old Sessions House in London.

June 2019: Par-tay

The duo appeared at the after-party for the premiere of Spider-Man: Far From Home in Hollywood, Calif.

May 2017: MTV Movie & TV Awards

The Spider-Man: Homecoming stars spoke onstage at the award show in Los Angeles.

June 2017: Promoting in Spain

Tom and Zendaya attended a photo call for Spider-Man: Homecoming in Madrid.

July 2016: Comic-Con Fun

Tom and Zendaya shared a laugh during the Marvel panel event at San Diego Comic-Con International 2016 in San Diego, Calif.

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