Eight words go head-to-head for Oxford Word of the Year 2023

27 November 2023
4 min read

We are once again giving language lovers around the world the opportunity to take part in the selection of our Oxford Word of the Year for 2023.

Last year, for the first time in its history, our Oxford Word of the Year was placed completely in the hands of the public, with English speakers worldwide given the chance to have their say.

Almost 400,000 people took to social media to join the discussion, before ‘goblin mode’ was crowned the winner with an overwhelming 93% of the vote.

For 2023, our experts have selected a shortlist of eight words and phrases, all chosen to reflect the mood, ethos, or preoccupations of the year. We have released these words to the public in head-to-head voting contests. A winner will emerge from each of these contests, narrowing the field down to just four finalists.

From the final four, our experts will then perform one last detailed analysis of our corpus of spoken and written language data, taking into account the votes and public commentary on the finalists, and name the definitive Oxford Word of the Year for 2023.

The competing words are:

Swiftie vs. de-influencing

  • Swiftie (n.): an enthusiastic fan of the singer Taylor Swift.
  • de-influencing (n.): the practice of discouraging people from buying particular products, or of encouraging people to reduce their consumption of material goods, esp. via social media.

beige flag vs. rizz

  • beige flag (n.): a character trait that indicates that a partner or potential partner is boring or lacks originality; (also) a trait or habit, esp. of a partner or potential partner, viewed as extremely characteristic, but not distinctly good or bad.
  • rizz (n.): style, charm, or attractiveness; the ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner.

heat dome vs. prompt

  • heat dome (n.): a persistent high-pressure weather system over a particular geographic area, which traps a mass of hot air below it.
  • prompt (n.): an instruction given to an artificial intelligence program, algorithm, etc., which determines or influences the content it generates.

parasocial vs. situationship

  • parasocial (adj.): designating a relationship characterized by the one-sided, unreciprocated sense of intimacy felt by a viewer, fan, or follower for a well-known or prominent figure (typically a media celebrity), in which the follower or fan comes to feel (falsely) that they know the celebrity as a friend.
  • situationship (n.): a romantic or sexual relationship that is not considered to be formal or established.

Have your say and vote for your Oxford Word of the Year 2023 here, then visit our channels on X (Twitter), Instagram, and LinkedIn for the latest on how the words are performing!

Voting is now open and will close at 5pm GMT on Thursday 30 November. The winner will be announced on Monday 4 December 2023.

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