a suffix of nouns that denote a body of facts, knowledge, principles, etc., usually corresponding to adjectives ending in -ic or -ical: ethics; physics; politics; tactics.
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Origin of -ics
plural of -ic, representing Latin -ica (< Greek -ika, neuter plural of -ikos), as in rhētórica (plural) rhetoric book
usage note for -ics
Nouns ending in -ics that name fields of study, sciences, arts, professions, or the like are usually not preceded by an article and are used with a singular verb: Acoustics (the science) deals with sound. Politics (the art of government) fascinates me. In certain uses, often when preceded by a determiner like the, his, her, or their, most of these nouns can take a plural verb: The acoustics (the sound-reflecting qualities) of the hall are splendid. Their politics (political opinions) have antagonized everyone.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for -ics
suffix forming nouns (functioning as singular)
indicating a science, art, or matters relating to a particular subjectaeronautics; politics
indicating certain activities or practicesacrobatics
Word Origin for -ics
plural of -ic, representing Latin -ica, from Greek -ika, as in mathēmatika mathematics
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Medical definitions for -ics
Science; art; study; knowledge; skill:pharmaceutics.
Actions, activities, or practices of:macrobiotics.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.