ism

play
noun \ ˈi-zəm \

Definition of ism

1 :a distinctive doctrine, cause, or theory
2 :an oppressive and especially discriminatory attitude or belief
  • we all have got to come to grips with our isms
  • —Joycelyn Elders

Examples of ism in a Sentence

  1. Cubism, Impressionism, and other artistic isms.

  2. ageism, racism, sexism, and all the other familiar isms

Recent Examples of ism from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of ism

-ism


-ism

noun suffix

Definition of -ism

1 a :act :practice :process
  • criticism
  • plagiarism
b :manner of action or behavior characteristic of a (specified) person or thing
  • animalism
c :prejudice or discrimination on the basis of a (specified) attribute
  • racism
  • sexism
2 a :state :condition :property
  • barbarianism
b :abnormal state or condition resulting from excess of a (specified) thing
  • alcoholism
or marked by resemblance to (such) a person or thing
  • giantism
3 a :doctrine :theory :religion
  • Buddhism
b :adherence to a system or a class of principles
  • stoicism
4 :characteristic or peculiar feature or trait
  • colloquialism

Origin and Etymology of -ism

Middle English -isme, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, partly from Latin -isma (from Greek) & partly from Latin -ismus, from Greek -ismos; Greek -isma & -ismos, from verbs in -izein -ize


ISM Defined for English Language Learners

ism

play
noun

Definition of ism for English Language Learners

  • : a belief, attitude, style, etc., that is referred to by a word that ends in the suffix -ism


-ism

noun suffix

Definition of -ism for English Language Learners

  • : the act, practice, or process of doing something

  • : behavior like that of a specified kind of person or thing

  • : unfair treatment of a group of people who have a particular quality


ISM Defined for Kids

-ism

noun suffix \ ˌi-zəm \

Definition of -ism for Students

1 :act :practice :process
  • baptism
  • criticism
2 :manner of action or behavior like that of a specified person or thing
  • heroism
3 :state :condition
  • alcoholism
4 :teachings :theory :system
  • socialism

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