This year has been dramatic and it’s reflected in the word of the year.
Jeff Sessions getting drastically fired, Brett Kavanaugh’s hearings in Congress, the #Metoo-movement and Robert Mueller’s investigation of President Donald Trump are just a few of the rememberable events that have affected us this year.
To sum everything up, the word “justice” has been revealed as the word of the year by the US publishing company Merriam-Webster after seeing a 74 % spike in look-ups compared to 2017.
In 2018, the word has appeared daily in news stories about for example the Justice Department, Obstruction of Justice or social justice.
“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 explained in a statement.
“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.”
2018 Word of the year affected by certain events
A majority of the words that were searched frequently this year were connected with specific events and news stories.
Michael Cohen, Jeff Sessions, and Brett Kavanaugh
For example, the searches for “Justice” spiked dramatically when Trump’s previous lawyer, Michael Cohen, was sentenced to three years in prison for crimes that included arranging the payment to conceal his boss’ alleged sexual affairs and when Trump urged his Attorney General Jeff Sessions to stop “this Rigged Witch Hunt”, the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, on Twitter.
..This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2018
The dictionary also noted that the searches for “Justice” also went up during the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.
“I’m a ‘nationalist’, okay?”
“You know, they have a word — it’s sort of became old-fashioned — it’s called a ‘nationalist,’ ” Trump said at a rally in Texas. “And I say, really, we’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I’m a nationalist, okay? I’m a nationalist. Nationalist. Nothing wrong. Use that word. Use that word.”
After that, as Trump intended, the searches for “Nationalist” in the dictionary spiked.
Laurel or Yanny?
“Laurel” got a dramatic spike when a video got viral, asking listeners if they could hear “Lauren” or “Yanny.” During that time, Laurel was up more than 3300%, all because the audio clip that had divided the listeners into two groups; those who heard Laurel and Those who heard Yanny.
Listen and decide what you hear, Yanni or Laurel?
What do you hear?! Yanny or Laurel pic.twitter.com/jvHhCbMc8I
— Cloe Feldman (@CloeCouture) May 15, 2018
Janelle Monáe self-identified as 'pansexual'
The word “pansexual” got attention after singer Janelle Monáe revealed that she self-identified with the term in an interview in Rolling Stone.
Today the word most often is used to mean "someone relating to or characterized by sexual desire or attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation," according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary.
“Looking at the year through the prism of vocabulary by analyzing our look-up data reminds us that words matter,” Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster editor at large, said in a video.
“Through the dictionary, we can make these connections with words that tell us something about our culture, our language and ourselves.”
Last year's word of the year at Merriam-Webster's dictionary was 'Feminism' followed by 'Complicit' and 'Rescue'.