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Merriam-Webster Picks Its Word of the Year

'Justice'
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2018 7:18 AM CST
The word "justice" is displayed in a Merriam-Webster dictionary.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

(Newser) – The word of the year, at least in the eyes of Merriam-Webster? "Justice." The dictionary's editor at large tells the AP that M-W isn't "editorializing"—the pick is made largely on a spike in people looking it up throughout the year on the dictionary's website. Lookups rose 74% over last year, and the word regularly rose to the top of most-searched lists, says Peter Sokolowski. "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 company said when explaining its choice. President Trump, for example, tweeted the word often in regard to the Robert Mueller investigation. Sokolowski says that lookups are often driven by people seeking to focus their thoughts or in search of motivation, rather than those who can't spell a word. Other words with big spikes:

  • maverick
  • respect
  • excelsior
  • pissant
  • pansexual
  • laurel
  • feckless
  • epiphany
  • lodestar
  • nationalism
(Dictionary.com chose a different winner, as did Oxford Dictionaries.)

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