US publishing company Merriam-Webster has named the noun its Word of the Year for 2018, after it saw a 74% spike in look-ups compared with 2017.
“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” the company said when explaining its choice.
“Justice” was among the most-consulted words on Merriam-Webster’s website throughout the year, the company said, and saw jumps in search volume in the wake of numerous news stories.
“Justice” takes the Word of the Year title from last year’s winner, “feminism.” Other words that saw large jumps in look-ups included “Laurel,” which was at the heart of a viral debate over a short piece of audio in May, and “respect,” which spiked in searches after the death of the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin, in August.