Dec. 17 (UPI) — The word of the year — is justice.
Merriam-Webster on Monday announced “justice” as its 2018 Word of the Year. The dictionary said that word more than any other — whether social, racial, criminal or economic — resonated the most throughout the last 12 months.
“It was a top look-up throughout the year, 74 percent more than in 2017,” Merriam-Webster lexicographer Peter Sokolowiski said in a statement. “We see spikes in our data that correspond to certain news events and stories reported in the media that help us to understand what drove so many more people to look up justice this year.”
Two significant examples, it said, are the ongoing Justice Department investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election — and the controversial confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in September.
Merriam-Webster said people also examined justice as it relates to marijuana legalization, which changed this year in several states, and the opioid crisis.
For a number of reasons and meanings, ‘justice’ was on the minds of many in 2018.’Justice’ is our 2018 #WordOfTheYear.https://t.co/kyB9swUkQp- Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) December 17, 2018
Other words that made Merriam-Webster’s top 10 Monday:
Nationalism spiked Oct. 22-23 when President Donald Trump proudly said he was a nationalist while speaking to supporters in Texas.
Pansexual was put into the mainstream when singer Janelle Monae identified herself as one. It means a person’s sexual desire or attraction is not limited to a particular gender.
Lodestar became a popular word when an anonymous White House official used it to describe resistance to President Donald Trump within his administration. It was printed in The New York Times Sept. 6, and attributed by some to Vice President Mike Pence. Defined by Merriam-Webster, it means “a star that leads or guides (especially the North Star).”
Other noted words include “epiphany,” highlighted by a K-pop group BTS song; “feckless,” used by comedian Samantha Bee to modify an obscenity lobbed at Trump; “laurel,” from when people debated the laurel/yanny audio; and “pissant,” a word used by a sports radio station to describe New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s daughter.
Merriam-Webster connected some words to famous people who died this year.
When “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin died in August, the word respect became a top search term because of her famous song of the same name. “Maverick” became a top search when Arizona Sen. John McCain died in August, and “excelsior” spiked following comic creator Stan Lee’s death in November.