Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2018 is ‘justice’, the dictionary publisher announced on Monday. “Our Word of the Year for 2018 is justice. It was a top lookup throughout the year at Merriam-Webster.com, with the entry being consulted 74% more than in 2017”, the dictionary’s website states.
The publisher said that the searches for the word surged at different points throughout the year for various reasons.
“The concept of justice was at the center of many of our national debates in the past year: racial justice, social justice, criminal justice, economic justice. In any conversation about these topics, the question of just what exactly we mean when we use the term justice is relevant, and part of the discussion.
This year’s news had many stories involving the division within the executive branch of government responsible for the enforcement of laws: the Department of Justice, sometimes referred to simply as “Justice.” Of course, the Mueller investigation itself is constantly in the news, and is being carried out through the Justice Department. Another big news story included yet another meaning of the word justice, as a synonym or title for “judge,” used frequently during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court”, their website states.
For a number of reasons and meanings, ‘justice’ was on the minds of many in 2018.
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) December 17, 2018
Talking about why certain words make it to the list of most-searched words, Emily Brewster, associate editor for Merriam-Webster, said in a statement, “It’s often familiar words for abstract concepts that are among the most looked up words. When common words like justice are used in contexts that are very specific, technical, or legal, people look them up in the dictionary for the detail and nuance that a definition can provide. For many reasons and for many meanings, one thing’s for sure: justice has been on the minds of many people in 2018.”
“Justice has varied meanings that do a lot of work in the language—meanings that range from the technical and legal to the lofty and philosophical. For many reasons and for many meanings, one thing’s for sure: justice has been on the minds of many people in 2018”, the statement said.
‘Justice’ joined Dictionary.com’s ‘misinformation’ and Oxford English Dictionary’s ‘toxic’ as top words of the year.
Other front runners for Merriam-Webster’s distinction, based on frequency of searches, were ‘nationalism’, ‘pansexual’, ‘lodestar’, ‘epiphany’, ‘feckless’, ‘laurel’, ‘pissant’, ‘respect’, ‘maverick’, and ‘excelsior’.