Here's Why Merriam-Webster Has Named 'Justice' As Word of the Year for 2018
A representation of blind Justice is Hans Gieng's 1543 statue on the Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen (Fountain of Justice) in Berne. (Photo: pxbay)

The word “justice” comes from Latin, and is the fundamental principle on which the law of most countries are based. It means “the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments.”

American publishing company Merriam-Webster has named ‘justice’ as its Word of the Year for 2018, after it saw a 74% spike in Google search look-ups compared to the previous year.

"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.

"In any conversation about these topics, the question of just what exactly we mean when we use the term justice is relevant, and part of the discussion," it said.

"Justice" was among the most-consulted words on Merriam-Webster's website throughout the year, the company said, and saw jumps in search volume in the wake of numerous news stories in the U.S. such as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation in to Russian interference in the 2016 elections, Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination and elevation to the U.S. Supreme Court and the #MeeToo movement.

"Justice" was awarded the Word of the Year title following last year's winner, "feminism."

Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large at Merriam-Webster told The Associated Press that the word “justice” kept entering the top 20 or 30 search terms on the company’s website. Searches for “justice” greatly increased because of world events, he added.

The editor gave credit to US President Donald Trump for driving traffic towards this word. Sokolowski said Trump’s frequent reference to the Department of Justice would lead to a spike in the search for the term.

The Merriam-Webster site has more than 100 million page views a month, Sokolowski said. The searches for “justice” throughout the year were up 74 percent when compared to 2017. To be word of the year worthy, an entry has to show both a large amount of traffic and a notable year-over-year increase in searches.

“We looked at our data and we were ourselves surprised by this word,” Sokolowski said. “This is a word that people have been thinking about for this entire year.”