AskDefine | Define ism

Dictionary Definition

ism n : a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school [syn: doctrine, philosophy, philosophical system, school of thought]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A belief that can be described by a word ending in -ism.
    • 1965, Bertram David Wolfe, Marxism, One Hundred Years in the Life of a Doctrine, p. 357,
      An ism does not have to possess the fearful implements of state power to cut off a a deviant or heretical member.
    • 1969, Walter E. Minchinton, Mercantilism; System Or Expediency?, p. xi,
      In his exposition, he has failed to achieve the identification of situation, theory, and policy necessary to create an ism.
    • 1994, Kenneth Kaye, Workplace Wars and How to End Them, p. 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.

Extensive Definition

Ism can be:

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Weltanschauung, adherents, articles of religion, catechism, church, class, communion, confession, credenda, credo, creed, cult, cultism, denomination, disciples, doctrinal statement, faith, followers, formulated belief, gospel, ideology, mystique, order, persuasion, political faith, political philosophy, religion, school, sect, system of belief, world view
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