The suffix -ism
was first used to form a noun of action
from a verb, as in baptism
, from baptein
, a Greek
word meaning "to dip", and then extended to systems of belief.
The word ism was first used in 1680 and can be found in the works of such well-known writers as Thomas Carlyle, Julian Huxley and George Bernard Shaw.
In the present day, it appears in the title of a standard survey of political thought, Today's ISMS by William Ebenstein, first published in the 1950s, and now in its 11th edition.
The -ism suffix can be used to express the following concepts:
See also: list of Isms
- doctrine, theory or religion (e.g. pacifism)
- theory developed by an individual (e.g. Marxism)
- political movement (e.g. feminism)
- action, process or practice (e.g. terrorism)
- characteristic, quality or origin (e.g. heroism)
- state or condition (e.g. pauperism)
- excess or disease (e.g. botulism)
- prejudice or bias (e.g. racism)
- characteristic speech patterns (e.g. Yogiism)