-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)

The belief that one can obtain salvation through oneself.
A belief that a work of art is an end in itself or its own justification.
autotheism (s) (noun), autotheisms (pl)
1. The doctrine of God’s self-subsistence. The ascription of this attribute to the Second Person of the Trinity, as being God of himself and not merely God of God.
2. Self-deification or the worship of oneself that he or she is a deity: "Celeste believed that she was divine and God incarnate; however, as a patient in the mental institution, she never had any support for her views from her caretakers."
autotropism (s) (noun), autotropisms (pl)
In botany, the tendency of a plant to grow in a straight line when it is unaffected by external factors or stimuli.
avunculism (s) (noun), avunculisms )pl)
A custom in some societies where the mother's brothers are very important in the family heritages or in children's upbringing.
baptism (s), (noun), baptisms (pl)
1. The immersion or dipping of a believer into water, symbolizing the complete renewal and change in the person's life and testifying to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the way to salvation: "At some point, close to the time of Jesus, Judaism placed a heavy emphasis on ritual washings to cleanse from impurity. Jews started baptizing Gentile converts, although circumcision still remained the primary entrance rite into Judaism."

"Baptism is not just to cleanse the body, but as an outward sign of an inward spiritual cleansing and commitment. Baptism is a sign of repentance, as practiced by John the Baptist, and of faith in Jesus Christ, as practiced by Jesus’ disciples."

2. A ceremonial immersion in water, or application of water, as an initiatory rite or sacrament of the Christian church: "Baptism is not just to cleanse the body, but as an outward sign of an inward spiritual cleansing and commitment. Baptism is a sign of repentance, as practiced by John the Baptist, and of faith in Jesus Christ, as practiced by Jesus’ disciples.
3. A trying or purifying experience or initiation: "Zelda went through a baptism on her first day of work."
—Compiled from information located at
Holman Bible Dictionary, General Editor, Trent C. Butler;
Holman Bible Publishers; Nashville, Tennessee; 1991; pages 149-150.
1. An act, trait, or custom characterized by ignorance or crudity.
2. The use of words, forms, or expressions considered incorrect or unacceptable; a specific word, form, or expression so used.

Barbarism versus barbarity

There is a significant difference in meaning between barbarism and barbarity. Both denote some absence of civilization, but the word civilization itself has several different senses, one the opposite of barbarism, the other the opposite of barbarity.

On the one hand civilization may refer to the scientific, artistic, and cultural attainments of advanced societies, and it is this sense that figures in the meaning of barbarism. The English word barbarism originally referred to incorrect use of language, but it is now used more generally to refer to ignorance or crudity in matters of taste, including verbal expression: "The newspaper would never allow such barbarisms."

On the other hand, civilization may refer to the basic social order that allows people to resolve their differences peaceably, and it is this sense; that is, civilization as opposed to savagery that figures in the meaning of barbarity, which refers to savage brutality or cruelty in actions: "The reports of the terrorists' barbarity in the way they treated their hostages has been worse than anyone could have anticipated."

barotropism (s) (noun), barotropisms (pl)
A movement resulting from a pressure stimuli: A barotropism is usually a reaction of living tissue to changes in pressures by a physician or by another medical therapist .
bathmotropism (bath moh" TROH piz uhm) (s) (noun), bathmotropisms (pl)
1. An influence on the reactions of the tissues in a body: Bathmotropism applies especially to the degree of the sensitivity of the cardiac nerves.
2. Etymology: from Greek bathmos, "step, degree" + tropism, "to turn, to move in response to a stimulus".
An earthquake occurring at very deep levels in the earth.
bathyseism (s) (noun), bathyseisms (pl)
An earthquake of deep origin recordable at seismographic stations around the world: In her book about earthquakes, Judy learned that a bathyseism was an earth tremor having its source deep in the earth and probably caused by tectonic action.

In peace, sons bury their fathers; in war, fathers bury their sons.

—Horodotus, Greek historian, ca. 500 B.C.
betacism, betacisms
1. A speech defect giving the b sound to other consonants.
2. A disorder of speech in which the consonant b receives excessive emphasis and other consonants may be pronounced as b.
Biblicism (noun) Biblicisms (pl)
1. The literal interpretation of the Bible.
2. Learning or literature relating to the Bible.
3. Having a particular regard for the Bible as the Word of God and the ultimate authority for religious beliefs and morality.