1. A suffix used to form personal nouns (and in some senses related adjectives) denoting an adherent of a system etc. in -ism: see -ism (Marxist; fatalist).
2. A noun suffix denoting an agent, or doer, one who practices, a believer in; as, theorist, one who theorizes; socialist, one who holds to socialism; sensualist, one given to sensuality (pathologist, tobacconist, violinist, balloonist, motorist.
3. a person who does something expressed by a verb in -ize (plagiarist).
4. a person who subscribes to a prejudice or practises discrimination (racist; sexist).
Origin: Old French -iste, Latin -ista from Greek -istes
(06 Feb 2009)
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