a suffix appearing in loanwords from Greek, where it was used to form action nouns from verbs (baptism); on this model, used as a productive suffix in the formation of nouns denoting action or practice, state or condition, principles, doctrines, a usage or characteristic, devotion or adherence, etc. (criticism; barbarism; Darwinism; despotism; plagiarism; realism; witticism; intellectualism). Cf. -ist, -ize.
[ < Gk -ismos, -isma n. suffixes, often directly, often through L -ismus, -isma, sometimes through F -isme, G -ismus (all ult. < Gk)]

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Universalium. 2010.

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