“Not this”

Not me using this phrase about 100 times a day. To be clear, I take no issue with other people using the “not ___” formulation. Only myself. Like many other highly useful, gorgeous, and popular phrases, this method of refutation emerged years ago from AAVE, gained popularity in the queer community, and thereafter filtered out to every basic bitch (me) who spent any time on the internet. (Programmer Colin Morris has a very thorough post on the origins of the “ironic not” here, which includes a supercut of examples from TV shows like Real Housewives of Atlanta and RuPaul’s Drag Race.)

But “not this” was just so suited for the overall vibe of the year: being anti-everything. It didn’t matter how big the thing was: One could as easily say, “Not a 5 p.m. meeting on a Friday” as they could “Not a triple pandemic.” Combining wryness and a grammatical flexibility that enabled the speaker to disapprove of anything — whether it was just one word, a person’s actions, or a structural concept — it easily seeped into conversation during a year when it was possible, even necessary, to protest basically any circumstance, object, or idea. —Estelle Tang


The term “Top-G” made its way to TikTok and into the vocabulary of young men on the app in late August — it continues to flood the comment section of most videos today. The descriptive word and condensed version of “Top-Gangster” was adopted from Andrew Tate, an influencer and former kickboxer, who created the label for himself and others who showcase their alpha-maleness. You’ll see this one typically on any video that belittles women or features an individual expressing their misogynist takes/support of the patriarchy. An example: “I don’t argue with my girls — they are either complying and doing as I say or I disappear for a week. Comply or goodbye, it’s really simple.” (An actual quote by Andrew Tate.) “What a Top-G!” The toxic male influencer culture has started to make an impact in the wider world, especially as it relates to increased violence toward women and the LGBTQ+ community. Stop calling men who are misogynistic and anti-gay a “Top-G.” Let’s leave this term that never should have been created in 2022. —Fjolla Arifi

“____ Lives in My Head Rent-Free”

This one was cheeky at first, but it’s just gotten tired. We need variations. We need spin-off phrases. We need “this video has squatter’s rights in my mind” or “this moment is now my landlord and I live in ITS head and rent is astronomical.” Not these, but I’m just spitballing. I’m craving something weirder and more specific about the legal and economic realities of housing. Nothing is rent-free. Be serious. You’d think angry anti-landlord Twitter would have done something about this by now, but I guess I have to do everything myself around here. Like, uh, okay, “this tweet just sold my brain to a bloated real estate developer and is turning it into a shoddily built windowless apartment complex populated exclusively by teenage TikTok influencers.” I don’t know! Mix it up a little! Get weird! Or at the very least — please, I’m begging you — stop saying this. —Izzy Ampil


If you've been on TikTok this year, maybe you've seen or heard the word “rizz” either as a caption or hashtag under videos of a man trying to seduce another person in the cringiest way possible. Having “rizz” by definition means being able to attract people effortlessly, but having the “unspoken rizz” is the ability to just charm someone or multiple people with your presence alone, usually with a glance or body language. NYC Twitch streamers Kai Cenat, Silky, and Duke Dennis brought the term into the mainstream last year, when they watched each other go on virtual dates to see who had the most “game.”

But the term “rizz” has done more harm than good in 2022. I was already annoyed with those TikTok videos of guys doing man-on-the-street–style interviews in NYC, but the word has inspired more of these videos to pop up on my For You page. Let's stop embarrassing ourselves by bothering strangers and leave the rizz behind in 2022. Pocharapon Neammanee

“It’s giving …”

In 2012, some kind folks decided that, as an antidote to the consumerism of Black Friday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving should inspire people to donate to nonprofits. They called it “Giving Tuesday.” This year, on Dec. 6, many people shared that the internet had broken their brains: Instead of seeing “Giving Tuesday,” they interpreted it in a much slangier way, reading it with the cadence that Shawn Mendes used when he told then-girlfriend Camila Cabello her vibe was “giving Cher.” This is another phrase that came from ball culture and AAVE, which means some of us really need to cease and desist...especially since Cabello launched it into the most perfect absurdity last year by saying a polka-dot makeup look was “giving dots.” English is a living, breathing thing, and I think that’s great! But nobody could possibly beat that. However, the nail in the coffin is really that Chris Brown released a song this month called “It’s Giving Christmas.” (No, I’m not linking to it.) Come on — that’s not even a pun. Game over, guys! —Estelle Tang

It’s the __ for me

A couple of years ago, this phrase reached its peak presence as the basis of a very funny but loving Gen Z roasting trend. This year, unfortunately, it appeared ad nauseam in Season 3 of Love Is Blind. Whether the cast members were criticizing someone, complimenting them, or merely making an observation, the constant repetition was one of the show’s many grating elements. It’s not the contestants’ fault they seemed to be overusing slang that was on its way out — the season was filmed last year, when you could still say something like “It’s the seasonal depression for me” without being embarrassing. But the unfortunate realities of time brought this throwback to the fore, and we really need it to be over now. —Estelle Tang

In my ____ era

I take a great deal of comfort in the “in my ____ era” construction. It’s a totalizing explanation, isn’t it? This isn’t a one-time event, it says, it’s who I am right now. I’m not tired, I’m in my exhausted era. I’m not bad at deadlines, I’m in my executive dysfunction era. I’m not spending too much on these shoes, I’m in my Treat Yo Self era. The phrase both helps you make sense of what you’re going through and make light of it at the same time, the kind of two-for-one deal therapy doesn’t offer. No, it hasn’t overstayed its welcome. No, it’s not a mechanism to make easy excuses so you don’t have to confront hard things about yourself. No, I don’t want to talk about it. Maybe you should be in your Mind Your Own Business era. —Elamin Abdelmahmoud

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