Merriam-Webster proclaims ‘justice’ its top word of 2018

The nebulous term was heavily searched throughout the year—74 percent more than in 2017. Many remark that the word’s choice reflects national news headlines and public interest.

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It’s a word we’ve all known since grade school, but a concept that seems increasingly muddled.

That’s why, for the pros at Merriam-Webster, the 2018 Word of the Year is “justice.” The elastic term received a significant uptick in search traffic and framed many national conversations.

Merriam-Webster wrote about the choice in a blog post, which read in part:

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.

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