What is an –ism? Posted by Gabriele on Feb 19, 2012 in English Grammar, English Language
–ism is a suffix added to the end of a word to indicate that the word represents a specific practice, system, or philosophy. Often these practices, systems, or philosophies are political ideologies or artistic movements. Using –ism at the end of a word also suggests the word is related to a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as an authority by a group or school of thought. The suffix –ism is always added to the end of a noun and a word with a –ism suffix is also always a noun. I am sure you have seen the suffix –ism on the end of many words in the past. Below I have highlighted some common –ism words and given the definitions of these words.
Activism – The action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.
Ageism – Prejudice or discrimination on the basis of a person’s age.
Alcoholism – An addiction to the consumption of alcoholic liquor or the mental illness and compulsive behavior resulting from alcohol dependency.
Capitalism – An economic and political system in which trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit.
Dualism – A theory or system of thought that regards a domain of reality in terms of two independent principles, for example: mind and matter.
Environmentalism – The philosophical belief that the environment is more important than heredity in determining growth and development.
Fatalism – The belief that all events in life are predetermined and inevitable.
Globalism – Globalism can have at least two different and opposing meanings. One meaning is the attitude or policy of placing the interests of the entire world above those of individual nations. The other meaning is viewing the entire world as a place for one nation to project its political influence.
Hedonism – The ethical theory that pleasure is the highest good and proper aim of human life.
Individualism – The habit or principle of being independent and self-reliant.
Materialism – A tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than other values.
Realism – The attitude or practice of accepting a situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it as it is.
Sexism – Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination on the basis of a person’s sex or gender.
Vegetarianism – A diet that philosophically excludes all meat and fish from being eaten.
Can you think of any other –ism words? Or do you have a question about a word ending in –ism that you have seen before? If so, please leave a comment on this post.