Merriam-Webster names 'justice' word of the year for 2018

Last year's word of the year was 'feminism' 

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Monday 17 December 2018 15:41 GMT
Merriam-Webster names the word of the year for 2018 (Stock)
Merriam-Webster names the word of the year for 2018 (Stock)

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The Merriam-Webster dictionary has selected justice as its word of the year for 2018 – and it is an accurate choice for a tumultuous year in the US.

According to the dictionary, the word of the year was chosen following an increasing and steady interest in the definition.

The public discourse surrounding the word likely stemmed from numerous high-profile instances where justice was being sought or questioned in America.

In addition to a focus on the United States’ Department of Justice, justice in terms of social justice, racial justice, and “obstruction of justice” were also searched for, according to the dictionary, which saw a 74 per cent increase in look-ups for the definition from 2017.

“The concept of justice was at the centre of many of our national debates in the past year: racial justice, social justice, criminal justice, economic justice,” a Merriam-Webster spokesman said of the word. “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.”

According to the dictionary, justice is defined as: “The maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments.”

The choice comes days after the sentencing of President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, and follows’s decision to name “misinformation” as its choice for word of the year.

As the year comes to a close, Merriam-Webster also named 10 other words that have seen an increase in interest in 2018 – including “nationalism,” which saw an 8,000 per cent increase, “pansexual,” “lodestar,” “Laurel,” and “respect.”

Last year, the dictionary named “feminism” as the word of the year, and previous years saw words such as “socialism,” “terrorism,” and “surreal” chosen.

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For a word to be chosen, Merriam-Webster editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski told the Associated Press that an entry has to see an increase in online traffic and a significant year-over-year increase in searches.

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