Merriam-Webster announced Monday that “justice” was the top word of 2018, online searches for which skyrocketed 74 percent from 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,” the dictionary website explained. “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.” (RELATED: Merriam-Webster Adds Slew Of Millennial Favorites To Dictionary)
Merriam-Webster went on to speculate that the Mueller investigation and the Kavanaugh hearings were possible reasons for the increased interest in the word, which derives from the Latin “justitia.” (RELATED: Here’s How Much The Mueller Investigation Has Cost Taxpayers)
Other top words serve as reminders of some the most memorable news stories and cultural trends of the past year. The dictionary website dubbed “nationalism” as the runner-up, claiming that searches for the word jumped over 8,000 percent in the days after it was featured in an October speech by President Donald Trump.
Other top words included “pansexual,” perhaps because of singer Janelle Monáe‘s assumption of the label; “lodestar,” likely thanks to its much-analyzed use in the anonymous New York Times article allegedly written by a senior Trump administration official; and “feckless,” an adjective infamously used by comedian Samantha Bee to modify a much ruder noun in reference to Ivanka Trump.