How about prism, astigmatism, schism, and catechism, were they formed by adding the '-ism' suffix? Bennylin 11:11, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
- No. —Stephen 02:02, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
History of the term
The first recorded usage of the suffix ism as a separate word in its own right was in 1680. By the nineteenth century it was being used by w:Thomas Carlyle to signify a pre-packaged ideology. It was later used in this sense by such writers as w:Julian Huxley and w:George Bernard Shaw. In the United States of the mid-nineteenth century, the phrase "the isms" was used as a collective derogatory term to lump together the radical social reform movements of the day (such as slavery abolitionism, feminism, alcohol prohibitionism, Fourierism, pacifism, early socialism, etc.) and various spiritual or religious movements considered non-mainstream by the standards of the time (such as Transcendentalism, spiritualism or "spirit rapping", Mormonism, the Oneida movement often accused of "free love", etc.). Southerners often prided themselves on the American South being free from all of these pernicious "Isms" (except for alcohol temperance campaigning, which was compatible with a traditional Protestant focus on strict individual morality). So on September 5 and 9 1856, the Examiner newspaper of Richmond, Virginia ran editorials on "Our Enemies, the Isms and their Purposes", while in 1858 "Parson" Brownlow called for a "Missionary Society of the South, for the Conversion of the Freedom Shriekers, Spiritualists, Free-lovers, Fourierites, and Infidel Reformers of the North" (see The Freedom-of-thought Struggle in the Old South by Clement Eaton). 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.
Etymology vs morphology
The examples chosen should reflect most likely actual etymology.
A word like baptism cannot be said to have been formed by adding -ism to a stem "bapt" in English. There was a Middle English word bapteme derived from an Old French word which was derived ultimately from a latin word baptismus, in turn derived from Ancient Greek. What seems to have occurred in English is that the form reverted to a form close to the Latin under the influence of the Latin liturgy. "-ism" was not a productive suffix in English in this case.
Even in more recent cases, French may have created a form ending in -isme which English is likely to have borrowed rather than morphologically adding -ism to an existing English term.
It is somewhat useful for users to understand that -ism reflects a suffix that was productive in another language in some cases and is productive in English in other cases. It is sometimes useful to know whether the suffix is still productive in English. DCDuring TALK 02:06, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
As to the other terms
- *chauvinism French
- conservatism (from conservative)
- *Cubism French
- feminism (from feminine)
- ?liberalism unclear whether earlier Fr attestation means Fr origin
- ?Marxism (coined after Karl Marx) French coinage 5 years before
- ???masculism (from masculus, Latin for male) questionable term.
- *alphabetism (from alphabet) French
- ???nationism (from nation) questionable term
- *racism (from race) French predates by 30 years
- religionism (from religion)
- *sexism (from sex) French predates by 20 years
- sexualism (from sexuality)
- ableism (from able)
- heterosexism (from heterosexual)
- *heroism (from hero) French
- Shakespeareanism (coined after William Shakespeare)
- autism (from autós, Greek for "self")
- 10 OK
- 6 terms with French use significantly before English
- 2 with French use shortly before English
- 1 questionable terms
Originally it was used as a suffix to make a noun out of a verb, but later writers took this form to define theories based on specific words, or phrases, which could be nouns, adjectives or verbs. Beliefs are often defined by "-isms". Above are plenty of examples. Conversely, the suffix "-ology" has a similar but more factual use. It connotes "a methodical study of". ref What does things ending in "ism" mean? - Yahoo!7 Answers /ref
(I would like to add the above paragraph to the "entry." But since this is Wiktionary and not Wikipedia, I don't know if it is appropriate. Please give feedback.)
Its all relatives 09:55, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
In discussions or even disputes on lemmas, especially when discussing your own language, the most important thing is basing all discussion on quotable references. A textbook example of how not to do things is exhibited at the top of the page:
How about prism, astigmatism, schism, and catechism, were they formed by adding th '-ism' suffix? Bennylin 11:11, 12 August 2009 (UTC) No. —Stephen 02:02, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
A step in the right direction is the reference to Yahoo Answers later on (December 2009). But the "RFV discussion" seems once again to be based, on all sides, on the ad hoc pondering of one's own language. This will not do at all. Such reflections are useful to get an initial feeling for the problem, but it will be absolutely necessary to then go and consult the relevant dictionaries. In this case, OED. I find it difficult to understand why people spend time arguing instead of consulting OED first and then arguing within that framework if (and only if) competing presentations are found in other dictionaries.
Now, the way things stand is that OED accepts formations imported whole from Latin/French (baptism, agonism, aphorism). This is perfectly reasonable, as the morphology is transparent within English.
OED does not recognize a separate sense of "disorders", but lists these words as simple examples of the larger class of "condition of a person or thing". --Dbachmann 11:02, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
The most difficult bit is this (quoting OED):
- sense 2.a.: "Forming the name of a system of theory or practice, religious, ecclesiastical, philosophical, political, social, etc., sometimes founded on the name of its subject or object, sometimes on that of its founder."
- sense 2.b.: "class-names or descriptive terms, for doctrines or principle"
we are here suffering from the fact that Wiktionary does not usually list semantic fields hierarchically, with "main meanings" (1,2,...) and "sub-meanings" (2a, 2b,...).
OED recognizes that these two sub-meanings cannot be cleanly separated, but nevertheless form two identifiable classes. It seems to suggest that capitalization indicates 2a. I.e. Liberalism, Conservatism is listed under 2a along with Protestantism and Positivism. But realism, idealism, feminism, fanaticism etc. are listed under 2b. It stands to reason that liberalism vs. Liberalism would separate into 2b vs. 2a, but of course the boundaries will be fluid. Compare:
- "In the days and weeks after the election[...]polls of all parties were busy reanalyzing Liberalism's success."
- "The Western democracies, whose systems are all variants of liberalism, though a liberalism which had come to accept a large degree of redistributive social support."
--Dbachmann 11:31, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
I've noticed two minor issues:
- The article seems to contradict itself about the origin of Judaism. Is it a loanword from Greek, or is it a learned English formation based on Latin, coined ca. 1500? It cannot be both, but the text fails to acknowledge the contradiction.
- The term dwarfism does not seem to fit into the doctrine section.