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year in review
December 17, 2018

2018 was a year of "justice" for all, according to Merriam-Webster.

The dictionary company named "justice" its word of the year for 2018 after it saw a 74 percent spike in lookups compared to 2017. Merriam-Webster noted in its announcement that justice was at the center of a number of important conversations this year, from issues concerning racial justice and social justice to stories about the Department of Justice and conversations about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. "For many reasons and for many meanings, one thing's for sure: justice has been on the minds of many people in 2018," Merriam-Webster says. The company's word of the year in 2017 was "feminism."

Merriam-Webster also listed 10 other words that saw notable spikes in lookups this year, all of which center around a key news story. One is "nationalism," which spiked 8,000 percent after President Trump in October declared himself a nationalist. Another is "pansexual," which spiked in April when singer Janelle Monáe identified herself as such in an interview.

"Lodestar" was also a notable lookup after the word was used in a damaging New York Times op-ed written by an anonymous member of the Trump administration, with some readers taking it as a clue pointing to Vice President Mike Pence, who often uses the word in speeches.

Additionally, "epiphany" spiked when the band BTS used it in a song; "feckless" spiked after comedian Samantha Bee used it in a vulgar monologue about Ivanka Trump; "laurel" spiked as people everywhere debated whether an audio recording was of a person saying "laurel" or "yanny"; "pissant" spiked when a radio DJ used the word to describe Tom Brady's daughter; and "respect," "maverick," and "excelsior" spiked after the deaths of Aretha Franklin, John McCain, and Stan Lee respectively. Read more at Merriam-Webster. Brendan Morrow

December 12, 2018

After Time's person of the year shortlist reminded us all what a decade this year has been, Google is here to hammer that point home even further.

Google on Wednesday released its annual "year in search" list, which takes a look at which topics earned the biggest spike in Google search traffic in 2018 compared to the year before. It reveals that the No. 1 global search trend of the year was the World Cup, which, despite how it might feel, was only five months ago. The next two most popular search topics concern two musicians who died suddenly at a young age: Avicii, who committed suicide in April, and Mac Miller, who died of a drug overdose in September.

Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee, who died in November, took the fourth spot, and the fifth is the Marvel Studios' film Black Panther, which was released in February and saw the biggest search spike of any movie in 2018.

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, topped the list of most popular people, followed by singer Demi Lovato, actor Sylvester Stallone, YouTuber Logan Paul, and reality TV star Khloé Kardashian. The World Cup also topped the list of news events, followed by Hurricane Florence, the Mega Millions results, the Royal Wedding, the election results, Hurricane Michael, and Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation.

All of the lists look a bit different when specifically honing in on the U.S., though. The World Cup also had the biggest search spike domestically, but in America, designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain made the top five searches after being further down the list worldwide. The biggest movie in the U.S. was Black Panther, the biggest video game was Fortnite, the biggest TV show was Roseanne, the biggest song was "Bohemian Rhapsody," the biggest athlete was Tristan Thompson, and the biggest politician was Stacey Abrams. Check out the full results at Google. Brendan Morrow

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