Definition of ism in English:



derogatory, informal
  • A distinctive practice, system, or philosophy, typically a political ideology or an artistic movement.

    ‘he loathed isms and any form of dogma’
    • ‘Some politicos cling to venal isms that stunt their own thinking and the growth of the nation, and delay the maturing of its democracy.’
    • ‘They don't go much for isms, either, just quiet happiness is all they're prepared to recognise.’
    • ‘A person should not believe in an ism, he should believe in himself.’
    • ‘However, the most controversial character is Kitten - a writhing mass of isms and chips on her shoulder.’
    • ‘Seuss railed against the evil isms of his day - fascism, anti-Semitism, anti-black racism - with the full force of his tensile imagination.’
    • ‘If any of you have ever wondered what postmodernism is, or what any of the other isms are for that matter, then this week's column is for you.’
    • ‘Values are a shared set of beliefs or creeds, convictions and ideologies, or a set of isms.’
    • ‘What are tools, and what is the nature of their inherence in specific ideologies, isms, and worldviews?’
    • ‘There's no discrimination here in the Blogosphere; no isms to get in the way of writing.’
    • ‘Ideology was foreign, and impressive-sounding, and was to generate many books with chapters recounting the arguments of the various isms of which political debate is composed.’
    way of thinking, school of thought, persuasion, creed, credo, doctrine, belief, faith, outlook, opinion, point of view
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Late 17th century: independent usage of -ism.