Wednesday, 23 October 2013

List of 'isms'

absenteeism noun [ U ]
The high rate of absenteeism is costing the company a lot of money.
absolutism noun [ U ]
a political system in which a single ruler, group or political party has complete power over a country
activism noun [ U ]
the use of direct and noticeable action to achieve a result, usually a political or social one
black/student activism
The levels of trade union and political activism in this country have greatly declined in the past fifteen years.
ageism , US usually agism noun [ U ]
treating people unfairly because of their age
agism noun [ U ]
mainly US for ageism
agnosticism noun [ U ]
agritourism noun [ U ]
the business of providing holidays for tourists on farms or in the countryside
alcoholism noun [ U ]
the condition of being an alcoholic
Alcoholism cost me my job, my health and finally my family.
altruism noun [ U ]
willingness to do things which bring advantages to other people, even if it results in disadvantage for yourself
She's not known for her altruism.
Americanism noun [ C ]
a word or expression which was first used in the United States but is used by people in other countries, especially those where English is spoken
anachronism noun [ C ]
a person, thing or idea which exists out of its time in history, especially one which happened or existed later than the period being shown, discussed, etc.
For some people, marriage is an anachronism from the days when women needed to be protected.
anarchism noun [ U ]
the political belief that there should be little or no formal or official organization to society but that people should work freely together
Anglicanism noun [ U ]
anglicism noun [ C ]
an English word or phrase that is used in another language
'Le weekend' is an anglicism used by the French.
animism noun [ U ] specialized
the belief that all natural things, such as plants, animals, rocks, thunder and earthquakes , have spirits and can influence human events
antagonism noun [ C or U ]
hate, extreme unfriendliness or actively opposing someone
There's a history of antagonism between the two teams.
the antagonism towards neighbouring states
the historic antagonisms between the countries of western Europe
anthropocentrism noun [ U ]
anthropomorphism noun [ U ]
the showing or treating of animals, gods and objects as if they are human in appearance, character or behaviour
The books 'Alice in Wonderland', 'Peter Rabbit' and 'Winnie-the-Pooh' are classic examples of anthropomorphism.
antidisestablishmentarianism noun [ U ] specialized
opposition to the belief that there should not be an official relationship between a country's government and its national church
antiquarianism noun [ U ]
aphorism noun [ C ]
a short clever saying which is intended to express a general truth
Oscar Wilde was famous for such aphorisms as 'Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes'.
archaism noun [ C ] specialized
a word or expression that is not generally used any more
asceticism noun [ U ]
astigmatism noun [ U ]
a fault in the lens of the eye which reduces the quality of sight, especially a fault which stops the eye from focusing
atavism noun [ U ]
atheism noun [ U ]
athleticism noun [ U ]
skill in running, jumping, throwing and similar competitive sports
The team's superb athleticism compensated for their lack of international experience.
authoritarianism noun [ U ]
autism noun [ U ]
a failure to develop social abilities, language and other communication skills to the usual level
Autism is four times more common in boys than in girls.
autoeroticism noun [ U ]
the use of your own body and imagination to get sexual pleasure
baptism noun [ C or U ]
a Christian ceremony in which a person has water poured on their head, or is covered for a very short time in water, in order to show that they have become a member of the Christian Church
infant baptism
barbarism noun [ U ]
extremely cruel and unpleasant behaviour
He witnessed some appalling acts of barbarism during the war.
behaviourism , US behaviorism noun [ U ] specialized
the theory that the study of the human mind should be based on people's actions and behaviour, and not on what they say that they think or feel
bioterrorism noun [ U ]
violent action using living matter, such as bacteria, to harm or kill people for political reasons
Bolshevism noun [ U ]
botulism noun [ U ]
a serious type of food poisoning caused by bacteria in badly preserved food
Buddhism noun [ U ]
a religion that originally comes from India, and teaches that personal spiritual improvement will lead to escape from human suffering
Calvinism noun [ U ]
cannibalism noun [ U ]
capitalism noun [ U ]
an economic, political and social system based on private ownership of property, business and industry, and directed towards making the greatest possible profits for successful organizations and people
catechism noun [ C usually singular ]
a group of questions and answers, especially about a set of Christian beliefs
Catholicism noun [ U ]
centralism noun [ U ]
the principle or action of putting something under the control of one central place
chauvinism noun [ U ] disapproving
1. the strong and unreasonable belief that your own country or race is the best or most important
The war stimulated an intense national chauvinism.
chauvinism noun [ U ] disapproving
2. ( also male chauvinism ) the belief that women are naturally less important, intelligent or able than men
Classicism noun [ U ] specialized
a style in painting, sculpture and building, based on particular standards in Greek and Roman art, which was especially popular during the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe
Ingres and Delacroix were two famous exponents of Classicism.
collectivism noun [ U ] specialized
a theory or political system based on the principle that all of the farms, factories and other places of work in a country should be owned by or for all the people in that country
colloquialism noun [ C ]
an informal word or expression which is more suitable for use in speech than in writing
colonialism noun [ U ]
the belief in and support for the system of one country controlling another
commensalism noun [ U ] specialized
a relationship between two species in which one gets an advantage from living closely with the other and the other is not affected by it
commercialism noun [ U ]
the principles and activity of commerce , especially those connected with profit and not quality or morals
communism , Communism noun [ U ]
the belief in a society without different social classes in which the methods of production are owned and controlled by all its members and everyone works as much as they can and receives what they need
conservatism noun [ U ]
the quality of often not liking or trusting change, especially sudden change
Conservatism noun [ U ]
Conservative actions and beliefs
consumerism noun [ U ]
1. the state of an advanced industrial society in which a lot of goods are bought and sold
consumerism noun [ U ]
2. disapproving when too much attention is given to buying and owning things
He disliked Christmas and its rampant (= extreme) consumerism.
criticism noun [ C or U ]
1. when you say that something or someone is bad; disapproval
The designs for the new mosque have attracted widespread criticism.
I have a few criticisms to make of/about your speech.
criticism noun [ C or U ]
2. when you give your opinion or judgment about the good or bad qualities of something or someone, especially books, films, etc
literary criticism
If you've got any constructive (= positive) criticism of the project, I'd be glad to hear it.
cronyism noun [ U ]
disapproving when someone important gives jobs to friends rather than to independent people who have the necessary skills and experience
Cubism noun [ U ]
a style of modern art in which an object or person is shown as a set of geometric shapes and as if seen from many different angles at the same time
cyberterrorism noun [ U ]
when people use the Internet to damage or destroy computer systems for political or other reasons
cynicism noun [ U ]
He's often been accused of cynicism in his attitude towards politics.
Daoism noun [ U ]
defeatism noun [ U ] disapproving
a way of thinking or behaving that shows that you feel you have no hope and expect to fail
There is a spirit of defeatism among some members of the party.
deism noun [ U ]
the belief in a single god who does not act to influence events, and whose existence has no connection with religions, religious buildings, or religious books, etc.
despotism noun [ U ]
After years of despotism, the country is now moving towards democracy.
determinism noun [ U ] specialized
the theory that everything which happens must happen as it does and could not have happened any other way
dogmatism noun [ U ] disapproving
stating your opinions in a strong way and not accepting anyone else's opinions
There is a note of dogmatism in the book.
dualism noun [ U ] formal
the belief that things are divided into two often very different or opposing parts
Western dualism values mind over body.
dynamism noun [ U ]
the quality of being dynamic
She has a freshness and dynamism about her.
eclecticism noun [ U ]
ecotourism noun [ U ]
the business of organizing holidays to places that people do not usually visit in a way which helps local people and does not damage the environment
ecumenicism noun [ U ]
egalitarianism noun [ U ] formal
the belief in and actions taken according to egalitarian principles
egoism noun [ U ]
egotism noun [ U ] ( also egoism ) disapproving
thinking only about yourself and considering yourself better and more important than other people
Finding herself world-famous by the time she was eighteen only encouraged the actress's egotism.
electromagnetism noun [ U ] specialized
the science of magnetism and electrical currents
elitism noun [ U ] mainly disapproving
the quality of being elitist
The accusation of elitism seems unfair as the festival presents a wide range of music, with something to please everyone.
embolism noun [ C ] specialized
a bubble of air, a lump (= solid mass) of blood that has become hard or a small piece of fat which blocks a tube carrying blood around the body
emotionalism noun [ U ] disapproving
showing too much emotion
empiricism noun [ U ]
the belief in using empirical methods
entryism noun [ U ] UK disapproving
the activity of joining a political party with the secret intention of changing its principles and plans
She's been accused of entryism by some members of the party.
environmentalism noun [ U ]
an interest in or the study of the environment, in order to protect it from damage by human activities
eroticism noun [ U ]
the quality of a picture, book, film, etc. being erotic
The play's eroticism shocked audiences when it was first performed.
escapism noun [ U ]
when someone avoids an unpleasant or boring life, especially by thinking, reading, etc. about more exciting but impossible activities
These adventure films are pure escapism.
For many people going on holiday is a form of escapism.
ethnocentrism noun [ U ]
euphemism noun [ C or U ]
a word or phrase used to avoid saying an unpleasant or offensive word
'Senior citizen' is a euphemism for 'old person'.
The article made so much use of euphemism that often its meaning was unclear.
evangelicalism noun [ U ]
evangelism noun [ U ]
exhibitionism noun [ U ]
1. disapproving behaviour which tries to attract attention
It's exhibitionism to flaunt wealth so blatantly.
exhibitionism noun [ U ]
2. formal when someone shows their sexual organs in public
existentialism noun [ U ] specialized
the modern system of belief made famous by Jean Paul Sartre in the 1940s in which the world has no meaning and each person is alone and completely responsible for their own actions, by which they make their own character
exorcism noun [ C or U ]
exoticism noun [ U ]
expansionism noun [ U ] disapproving
increasing the amount of land ruled by a country, or the business performed by a company
As a consequence of expansionism by some European countries, many ancient cultures have suffered.
Expressionism noun [ U ]
a style of art, music or writing, found especially in the 1900s, which expresses people's states of mind
extremism noun [ U ]
when someone has beliefs which most people think are unreasonable and unacceptable
political extremism
factionalism noun [ U ]
Factionalism was tearing the party and the country apart.
faddism noun [ U ]
a tendency to like a style, activity or interest for a very short period of time
fanaticism noun [ U ]
Fascism noun [ U ]
a political system based on a very powerful leader, state control and being extremely proud of country and race, and in which political opposition is not allowed
fatalism noun [ U ]
the belief that people cannot change the way events will happen and that events, especially bad ones, cannot be avoided
favouritism , US favoritism noun [ U ] disapproving
unfair support shown to one person or group, especially by someone in authority
A parent must be careful not to show favouritism towards any one of their children.
federalism noun [ U ]
the system of giving power to a central authority
feminism noun [ U ]
the belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way, or the set of activities intended to achieve this state
She had a lifelong commitment to feminism.
fetishism noun [ U ]
feudalism noun [ U ]
functionalism noun [ U ]
the principle that the most important thing about an object such as a building is its use rather than what it looks like

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