From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
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.
- the action or result of a verb
- a principle, belief or movement
- a form of prejudice or discrimination, either for or against a group
- the defining attribute of a person or thing
- a disorder
- autism (from autós, Greek for "self")