Suffixes – fruitful AND underappreciated

The same can be said for  me, of course, and my profession as a retail pharmacist.  However, I don’t go all the way back to Ancient Greece.  I may be 50, but I ain’t that old.

On with the real topic of this post.

The suffix -ism goes all the way back to Ancient Greek, and was used in Latin and medieval French on its way to English. Originally, it turned a verb into a noun: think of baptize and baptism, criticize and criticism, or plagiarize and plagiarism. It has since acquired many other uses, including identifying a religion or practice (Calvinism, vegetarianism), a prejudice based on a specific quality (sexism, ageism), an adherence to a system (stoicism, altruism), a condition based on excess of something (alcoholism), or a characteristic feature or trait (colloquialism).


I highlight this because (drum roll, please -ism   is the Merriam-Webster Word of the Year 2015.


A suffix is the Word of the Year because a small group of words that share this three-letter ending triggered both high volume and significant year-over-year increase in lookups at Taken together, these seven words represent millions of individual dictionary lookups.

I think this is a very appropriate post subject to close out 2015.  Unintentionally, I’ve ranted my share of vocabulary lessons over the last 12 months.  Thankfully, the topics have been random. Considering the author, what else would they be? In my defense,  I’ve been quite  creative in my presentations.  So, all in all, I’m thinkin’ my quest to enhance understanding of the English language has been well received.

Until now.

This vocabulary lesson has me a bit stumped.

First, what ARE those seven words that sparked this -ism insanity?

  • 7.   Socialism
  • 6.   Fascism
  • 5.   Racism
  • 4.   Feminism
  • 3.   Communism
  • 2.   Capitalism
  • 1.   Terrorism

Hmm.  That’s some serious shitism.

My initial reaction to a suffix being chosen was – “that’s dumb.”  Then I researched further for posting reasons.  My reaction changed, especially when those words were the -ism words referenced. On one hand, I’m thankful people are conscious about what is actually going on in our country and the world.  With the increased level of self-absorption I witness on a daily basis, I may have thought otherwise.  However I realized  that some, if not all, of those words probably do date back to Ancient Greece.  Should there be concern that people actually have to look up the definition of these words in-the-dictionary?

See where I’m going with this?

Personally, I would love to give the benefit of doubt to these dictionary-go-toers.  But then I do work retail.  The moment I try to do such a thing, reality – aka the American public – bites me in the ass, reminding me to rethink future decisions.  (insert heavy sigh)

This is why I rant Random Nonsense.  Because I’ll tell you something,  posting a picture of a fuckin’ Yak makes me laugh.  I need to laugh remember.  Furthermore, I hope it makes everyone else laugh, too.

I will close 2015 with a random quote about  -ism.

Suffixes are as fruitful as they are underappreciated

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