2018 was a year of "justice" for all, according to Merriam-Webster.
The dictionary company named "justice" its word of the year for 2018 after it saw a 74 percent spike in lookups compared to 2017. Merriam-Webster noted in its announcement that justice was at the center of a number of important conversations this year, from issues concerning racial justice and social justice to stories about the Department of Justice and conversations about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. "For many reasons and for many meanings, one thing's for sure: justice has been on the minds of many people in 2018," Merriam-Webster says. The company's word of the year in 2017 was "feminism."
Merriam-Webster also listed 10 other words that saw notable spikes in lookups this year, all of which center around a key news story. One is "nationalism," which spiked 8,000 percent after President Trump in October declared himself a nationalist. Another is "pansexual," which spiked in April when singer Janelle Monáe identified herself as such in an interview.
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"Lodestar" was also a notable lookup after the word was used in a damaging New York Times op-ed written by an anonymous member of the Trump administration, with some readers taking it as a clue pointing to Vice President Mike Pence, who often uses the word in speeches.
Additionally, "epiphany" spiked when the band BTS used it in a song; "feckless" spiked after comedian Samantha Bee used it in a vulgar monologue about Ivanka Trump; "laurel" spiked as people everywhere debated whether an audio recording was of a person saying "laurel" or "yanny"; "pissant" spiked when a radio DJ used the word to describe Tom Brady's daughter; and "respect," "maverick," and "excelsior" spiked after the deaths of Aretha Franklin, John McCain, and Stan Lee respectively. Read more at Merriam-Webster.
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