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Also ‑istic and ‑istical

Forming personal nouns and some related adjectives.

Old French ‑iste, Latin ‑ista, from Greek ‑istēs.

One large group consists of words linked to nouns in ‑ism, so suggesting a person who adheres to a system of beliefs or principles, or practices some art, skill or activity (communist, hedonist, Marxist, realist, socialist, spiritualist, tourist, ventriloquist), or subscribes to some prejudice or practises discrimination (ageist, racist, sexist, sizeist). A second group is of agent nouns associated with verbs ending in ‑ize, many of which also have related nouns in ‑ism: antagonist, Baptist, evangelist, exorcist, plagiarist.

On their model a large number of terms have been generated from a variety of nouns, or sometimes from adjectives or verbs, to indicate a member of some profession or business activity, or a person engaged in some pursuit or activity: artist, cyclist, dentist, dramatist, florist, humorist, idealist, linguist, motorist, novelist, organist, scientist, trombonist. Some refer to students of the language or culture of a region: Americanist, Hebraist, Hellenist, Latinist, Orientalist.

The suffix is often used to form new words, often for a single occasion: everythingist, garbageologist (a person who investigates household rubbish as a marker of social status or aspirations), oppositionalist (a member of a political party who rigorously opposes some aspect of policy), rebuttalist (one who rebuts another), road-ragist (a person who exhibits road rage).

It is common to form adjectives using the compound suffix ‑istic (‑ist plus ‑ic): atheistic, evangelistic, idealistic, realistic. A few nouns also have adjective forms in ‑istical: egoistical, pietistical, though these are less common.

See also ‑logist.

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