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See also: ISM, -ism, -ism-, and ism.



From the suffix -ism (belief), particularly (in the 19th century) in the sense of "social movement". Compare phobia, from -phobia, sophy, from -sophy, itis, from -itis, and ana, from -ana.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɪz.əm/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪzəm


ism (plural isms)

  1. An ideology, system of thought, or practice that can be described by a word ending in -ism.
    Synonym: whateverism
    • 1843, Thomas Carlyle, chapter XV, in Past and Present[1], book 2:
      [] his religion, his worship was like his daily bread to him; — which he did not take the trouble to talk much about; which he merely ate at stated intervals, and lived and did his work upon! This is Abbot Samson’s Catholicism of the Twelfth Century; — something like the Ism of all true men in all true centuries, I fancy! Alas, compared with any of the Isms current in these poor days, what a thing!
    • 1887 August, W[illiam] G[raham] Sumner, “State Interference”, in North American Review:
      If it gives way to sentimentalism, or sensibility, or political mysticism, or adopts an affectation of radicalism, or any other ism, or molds its institutions so as to round out to a more complete fulfillment somebody's theory of the universe, it may fall into an era of revolution and political insecurity []
    • 1965, Bertram David Wolfe, Marxism, One Hundred Years in the Life of a Doctrine, page 357:
      An ism does not have to possess the fearful implements of state power to cut off a deviant or heretical member.
    • 1969, Walter E. Minchinton, Mercantilism; System Or Expediency?, page xi:
      In his exposition, he has failed to achieve the identification of situation, theory, and policy necessary to create an ism.
    • 1986, John Hughes, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, spoken by Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick):
      Isms in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an ism – he should believe in himself.
    • 1994, Kenneth Kaye, Workplace Wars and How to End Them, page 70:
      It is important to distinguish between an ism and a mere generalization about group differences. Generalizations that have statistical validity are not isms. An ism assumes that the generalization applies to an individual.
  2. (specifically) A form of discrimination, such as racism or sexism.

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • "isms" in Raymond Williams, Keywords (revised), 1983, Fontana Press, page 173.





  1. root (of a plant)

Cypriot Arabic[edit]


Inherited from Arabic اِسْم(ism).


ism (plural ismát)

  1. name


  • Borg, Alexander (2004) A Comparative Glossary of Cypriot Maronite Arabic (Arabic–English) (Handbook of Oriental Studies; I.70), Leiden and Boston: Brill, page 141



From Persian اسم(esm), from Arabic اِسْم(ism).


ism (plural ismlar)

  1. name
  2. (grammar) noun