Ultimately from either Ancient Greek -ισμός (-ismós), a suffix that forms abstract nouns of action, state, condition, doctrine, from stem of verbs in -ίζειν (-ízein) (whence English -ize); or from the related suffix Ancient Greek -ισμα (-isma), which more specifically expressed a finished act or thing done.
Many English nouns in -ism are loans of Greek nouns in -ισμός (-ismós), often via Latin and French, such as Judaism, a learned English formation from Latin attested from ca. 1500 and ultimately from Ancient Greek Ἰουδαϊσμός (Ioudaïsmós). In Late Latin, the -ismus suffix became the ordinary ending for names of religions and ecclesiastical or philosophical systems or schools of thought, thus chrīstiānismus (whence 16th c. Christianism) in Tertullian, a trend continued in Medieval Latin, with e.g. pāgānismus attested by the 8th century. From the 16th century, such formations became very common in English, until the early 18th century mostly restricted to either root words of Greek or Latin origin (heroism, patriotism) or proper names (Calvinism, Lutheranism).
Productivity from root words with evidently non-Latin and non-Greek origin dates to the late 18th century (e.g. blackguardism). Reflecting this productivity, use of ism as a standalone noun is attested in Edward Pettit (1680) and becomes common from the mid-18th century. The narrowed sense of forming terms for ideologies based on the belief of superiority is based on coinages such as racism (1932) or sexism (1936) and productive since the 1970s.
- Used to form nouns of action or process or result based on the accompanying verb in -ise or -ize.
- Used to form the name of a system, school of thought or theory based on the name of its subject or object or alternatively on the name of its founder (When de-capitalized, these overlap with the generic "doctrines" sense below, e.g. Liberalism vs. liberalism.)
- Lutheranism (1560), Calvinism (1570), Protestantism (1606), Congregationalism (1716), Mohammedanism (1815),: Palamism (1949)
- Used to form names of a tendency of behaviour, action, state, condition or opinion belonging to a class or group of persons, or the result of a doctrine, ideology or principle or lack thereof.
- atheism (1587), ruffianism (1589), giantism (1639), fanaticism (1652), theism (1678), religionism (1706), patriotism (1716), heroism (1717), despotism (1728), old-maidism (1776), capitalism (1792), nationism (1798), romanticism (1803), conservatism (1832), sexualism (1842), vegetarianism (1848), externalism (1856), young-ladyism (1869), opportunism (1870), blackguardism (1875), jingoism (1878), feminism (1895), dwarfism (1895)
- 1990, Stephen King, The Moving Finger
- Howard didn't care much for beer, but that night he helped himself to three cans of Vi's new find nevertheless. Vi commented on it, said that if she had known he was going to like it that much, she would have stopped by the drugstore and gotten him an IV hookup. Another time-honored Vi-ism.
- 2020, Ministry of Broadcast, Hitcents, Nintendo Switch, scene: game over:
- WE ARE EXPERIENCING BROADCAST NOOBISM
- Used to form countable nouns indicating a peculiarity or characteristic of language
- Atticism (1612), Gallicism (1656), archaism (1709), Americanism (1781), colloquialism (1834), newspaperism (1838), Shakespearianism (1886)
- 2010, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, New York: Random House, →ISBN, page 136:
- Note that these sayings attributed to Yogi Berra might be apocryphal […] These sayings remain, however, quintessential Berraisms.
- Used to form names of ideologies expressing belief in the superiority of a certain class within the concept expressed by the root word, or a pattern of behavior or a social norm that benefits members of the group indicated by the root word. (Based on a late 20th-century narrowing of the "terms for a doctrine" sense.)
- racism (1932), sexism (1936), classism (1971), speciesism (1975), heterosexism (1979), ableism (1981)
- (medicine) Used to form names of conditions or syndromes
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
- Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. "-ism, suffix".
Borrowed from Latin -ismus, French -isme, ultimately from Ancient Greek -ισμός (-ismós).
-ism n (plural -isme)
- -ism (indicates a belief or principle)
- creștin (“Christian”) + -ism → creștinism (“Christianity”)
- anarhie (“anarchy”) + -ism → anarhism (“anarchism”)
- kommunism ― communism
- kannibalism ― canibalism
- surrealism ― surrealism
|Declension of -ism|