Racial justice. Obstruction of justice. Social justice. The Justice Department. Merriam-Webster has chosen ‘justice” as its 2018 word of the year, driven by the churning news cycle over months and months. The word follows “toxic,” picked by Oxford Dictionaries, and “misinformation,” plucked by Dictionary.com. Peter Sokolowski, Merriam Webster’s editor at large, told The Associated Press ahead of Monday’s announcement that “justice” consistently bubbled into the top 20 or 30 lookups on the company’s website, spiking at times due to the specific events but also skating close to the surface for much of the year.
Searches for “justice” throughout the year, when compared to 2017, were up 74% on the site that has more than 100 million page views a month and nearly half a million entries, Sokolowski said. To be word of the year worthy, an entry has to show both a high volume of traffic and a significant year-over-year increase in lookups—as opposed to, say, a word that merely buzzed or felt lofty, he said.