“Justice” has been selected as Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year.
The dictionary publisher revealed its pick Monday, having chosen the term based on the number of times it was looked up on its website.
But also, maybe a sign of the times?
Behind the uptick in searches for the word is the staggering amount of news coverage of the Justice Department as well as its focus in national debates throughout the year. Social and criminal justice have been particularly hot topics in 2018, driving up public interest in the word.
President Donald Trump’s Twitter habit was another contributing factor. According to Merriam-Webster, there was a “spike in lookups of obstruction of justice in August, when President Trump tweeted his wish for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to stop the Mueller investigation.”
“It’s often familiar words for abstract concepts that are among the most looked up words,” said Emily Brewster, the publisher’s associate editor, and editorial ambassador. “When common words like justice are used in contexts that are very specific, technical, or legal, people look them up in the dictionary for the detail and nuance that a definition can provide.”
So, what is "Justice"?
Merriam's defines it as follows:
1a: the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments
2a: the quality of being just, impartial, or fair, the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action
Justice is not just any word. It implies so much more and is often butchered by those who seek to avoid it.
Morgan Freeman said it best in Bonfire of the Vanities:
Let me tell you what justice is. Justice is the law, and the law is man's feeble attempt to set down the principles of decency.
And decency is not a deal. It isn't an angle, or a contract, or a hustle! Decency... decency is what your grandmother taught you. It's in your bones!
Now you go home. Go home and be decent people. Be decent.
I have been a plaintiffs personal injury lawyer for 26 years in Arizona. For my injured clients who have come to me and rely on me for assistance after a tragic event, whether it has temporarily altered or permanently changed their lives, I am looking for one thing for them:
In our legal system, we cannot ask for anything more, but we should not settle for anything less.
That is what Zachar Law Firm does for our clients. Everyday. We seek JUSTICE.