Justice is Merriam-Webster dictionary word of the year

Justice is Merriam-Webster word of the year

Merriam-Webster has chosen “justice” as its 2018 word of the year.

Editor at large Peter Sokolowski said ahead of Monday’s announcement the word experienced specific spikes in lookups on the company’s website for much of the year. It also consistently bubbled up in the rankings from somewhere in the top hundreds of searches into the top 20 or 30 through 2018.

“It’s not a coincidence that it comes from the 12th century, which immediately follows the Norman conquest. When the Normans invaded England they brought their language, Old French, which was basically the then-modern version of Latin. They brought their system of government and laws and imposed them on the people they conquered, and that’s why all of the legal language in English today is Latin, just like the word justice,” Sokolowski explained. “It took the imposition of a system of laws to bring us the word justice.

The word justice comes from the Latin iüstitia, which meant righteousness, or equity.

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year follows the Oxford Dictionaries choice of “toxic” and Dictionary.com’s pick of “misinformation.”

Other words that experienced lookup spikes this year: “maverick” (Sen. John McCain died); “respect” (Aretha Franklin died); “excelsior” (Stan Lee’s signature battle cry. He died); “pissant” (A radio host described Tom Brady’s daughter that way); “pansexual” (Janelle Monae described herself that way); “laurel” (Remember laurel vs. yanny?); “feckless” (What Samantha Bee called Ivanka Trump, combined with a pejorative that begins with “c”); “epiphany” (The title of a BTS K-pop song that dropped this year); “lodestar” (used in reference to McCain in the anonymous New York Times op-ed identified as coming from inside the Trump administration); and “nationalism” (At an Oct. 22 rally in Texas, Trump declared himself a nationalist).

Collins Dictionary chose their word of the year last month, going with “single-use” — referring to the kind of plastic that many companies have vowed to stop using in 2018.

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Emmy Skylar

About the Author: Emmy Skylar

Emmy Skylar started working for Debate Report in 2017. Emmy grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba. But moved to Ontario for university. Before joining Debate Report, Emmy briefly worked as a freelance journalist for CBC News.  She covers politics and the economy.

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