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The suffix -ism denotes a distinctive system of beliefs, myth, doctrine or theory that guides a social movement, institution, class or group. For example, baptize (literally derived from "to dip") becomes "baptism," a distinctive system of cleansing in water to testify to the forgiveness of sins . It is taken from the Greek suffix -ismos, Latin -ismus, and Old French -isme, that forms nouns from verbal stems. Greek baptismos "immersion", for example, is derived from baptizein, a Greek verb meaning "to immerse". Its usage has since been extended to signify the ideology or philosophy surrounding the element to which the suffix is added.


  1. the action or result of a verb
    baptism (from baptise)
  2. a principle, belief or movement
    chauvinism (coined after Nicolas Chauvin)
    conservatism (from conservative)
    feminism (from femina, Latin for woman)
    Marxism (coined after Karl Marx)
    masculism (from masculus, Latin for male)
  3. a form of prejudice or discrimination, either for or against a group
    alphabetism (from alphabet)
    nationism (from nation)
    racism (from race)
    religionism (from religion)
    sexism (from sex)
    sexualism (from sexuality)
    ableism (from able)
    heterosexism (from heterosexual)
  4. the defining attribute of a person or thing
    heroism (from hero)
    Shakespeareanism (coined after William Shakespeare)
  5. a disorder
    autism (from autós, Greek for "self")

See also

For examples of the use of -ism as a suffix:

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "-ism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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