-ism, -ismus

(Greek, ismos; Latin, ismus: a suffix: belief in, practice of, condition of, process, characteristic behavior or manner, abnormal state, distinctive feature or trait)

blepharism
Spasm of the eyelids causing rapid repetitive involuntary winking.
bonism
The doctrine that the world is good but not perfect.
bruxism
1. Involuntarily or unconsciously clenching or grinding the teeth, typically during sleep.
2. The unconscious habit of grinding or gritting the teeth that occurs during sleep or in stressful situations and can lead to excessive wear of the teeth.
3. Bruxism is due to clenching of the teeth other than in chewing and is associated with forceful lateral or protrusive jaw movements. This results in the grinding or rubbing of the teeth together.

Bruxism usually occurs during sleep

Bruxers involuntarily gnash their teeth either during sleep, or unconsciously during waking hours. This stressful grinding of th teeth exerts thousands of pounds of pressure on the teeth surfaces and can severely damage the teeth, the gums, and the jawbones.

During bruxism episodes, there is no food to cushion the blows of the teeth colliding against each other. Bruxism, therefore, can upset the delicate pressure balance of teeth, wearing down the ridges of tooth enamel and loosening or moving teeth from their proper positions.

All of this grinding and clenching of teeth can cause facial muscles to ache or tighten up with sharp pain. This can lead to pain and clicking or cracking sounds in the joints of the jawbones and a severe headache.

Gum diseases may be aggravated by bruxism to the extent that the bone supporting the teeth is lost and they become loosened and fall out.

It is sometimes done to such an excess that it damages the occlusal surfaces of the teeth, particularly the molar teeth, and may contribute to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome.

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the area directly in front of the ear on either side of the head where the upper jaw (maxilla) and lower jaw (mandible) meet.

Within the TMJ there are moving parts that allow the upper jaw to close on the lower jaw. This joint is a typical sliding "ball and socket" which has a disc sandwiched between it.

The TMJ is used many hundreds of times a day in moving the jaw, biting and chewing, talking and yawning. It is one of the most frequently used of all the joints in the body.

The temporomandibular joints are complex and are composed of muscles, tendons, and bones. Each component contributes to the smooth operation of the TMJ.

When the muscles are relaxed and balanced and both jaw joints open and close comfortably, we are able to talk, chew, or yawn without pain.

—Based primarily on information from
"Gnash, Grind, Chomp" by Neil McAleer in The Body Almanac;
Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York; 1985, pages 175-176.
Bruxism is a leading cause of wealthy orthodontists.
—Anonymous
cacophemism (s) (noun), cacophemisms (pl)
The substitution of an offensive term for one considered to be acceptable: When he was being particularly obnoxious, the stand up comic used frequent cacophemisms in his routine, insulting many who were in the audience.
cancerism
capitalism (s) (noun), capitalisms (pl)
1. An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market.
2. An economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods, characterized by a free competitive market and motivation by profit.
capriloquism (s) (noun), capriloquisms (pl)
1. Egophony, or increased resonance of voice sounds, in which the voice has a high-pitched bleating characteristic, like that of a goat: Also known as: bronchoegophony, egobronchophony, tragophonia, and tragophony.
2. Etymology: from Latin caper, "goat", + loquor, "to speak".
castracism
1. The practice of prepubescently castrating male humans with the purpose of preserving their alto or soprano voices.
2. Prepubescent castration.
casualism (s) (noun) (usually no plural)
The belief or commitment to an understanding that all events occur unexpectedly or in an unplanned manner: "The doctrine of casualism does not work very well when anyone is trying to arrange a conference telephone call among several individuals."
catabolism
catechism
chemism
1. Chemical activity.
2. A chemical property or relationship.
chemotropism (s) (noun), chemotropisms (pl)
1. The tendency of an organism or part of an organism to bend toward or away from a chemical stimulus.
2. An orientation response to a chemical stimulus.
chimerism
1. In bone marrow, a transplantation in which bone marrow and host cells exist compatibly without any signs of graft-versus-host rejection disease.
2. A condition or state of containing two or more genetically distinct cell types.

In humans, chimerism results from any organ transplant other than that between identical twins or from the mixture of blood cells between dizygous twins (either of two twins who developed from two separate fertilized eggs) in the uterus before birth.

A dizygotic twin refers to either of the "fraternal" twins who has shared a common uterine environment with its twin which is a result of a different fertilized ovum.

chloroformism
The habit of inhaling chloroform for pleasure.