Mental Floss

Our New Isms

David K. Israel

When it comes to isms, Ferris Bueller, not Trotsky, probably has the most memorable line: "-Ism's in my opinion," he said, "are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself."

Okay, so we can debate whether he's right or wrong some other time. The fact is, there are lots of "“isms out there, and not all of them are doctrines or philosophies. Take bruxism, for example. That's teeth grinding, something I do when I sleep that causes headaches and all kinds of other problems. (Yes, I have a night guard"¦woe is me.)

The great thing about the suffix is you can slap it on the end of many roots and/or combinations of syllables, and presto! you've got a new word. The Web is filled with funny definitions of some great, made-up isms, like Robotulism, which is defined on this site through a faux newspaper report: "And in Detroit, another six dozen industrial welders succumbed to Mrs Dorfmann's canned beans today, bringing the total costs to..."

Or how about how this site came up with a new definition of feudalism, using it in a sentence this way:

In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your Count that votes.

So I thought it would be fun to come up with a list of our own new isms. Drop "˜em down in the comments below. I'll post the 10 best and we'll turn the voting over to you all. By this time next week, we'll have a champion Ismist and a great, new word to announce. Who knows? Maybe one will even wind up on a future mental_floss tee. Stay tuned.