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-ist

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  1. a suffix of nouns, often corresponding to verbs ending in -ize or nouns ending in -ism, that denote a person who practices or is concerned with something, or holds certain principles, doctrines, etc.: apologist; dramatist; machinist; novelist; realist; socialist; Thomist.
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Compare -ism, -istic, -ize.

Origin of -ist

Middle English -iste < Latin -ista < Greek -istēs; in some words, representing French -iste, German -ist, Italian -ista, etc., ≪ Latin < Greek, as above
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for -ist

-ist

suffix
  1. (forming nouns) a person who performs a certain action or is concerned with something specifiedmotorist; soloist
  2. (forming nouns) a person who practises in a specific fieldphysicist; typist
  3. (forming nouns and adjectives) a person who advocates a particular doctrine, system, etc, or relating to such a person or the doctrine advocatedsocialist
  4. (forming nouns and adjectives) a person characterized by a specified trait, tendency, etc, or relating to such a person or traitpurist
  5. (forming nouns and adjectives) a person who is prejudiced on the basis specifiedsexist; ageist
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Word Origin

via Old French from Latin -ista, -istēs, from Greek -istēs
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

Word Origin and History for -ist

agent noun suffix, also used to indicate adherence to a certain doctrine or custom, from French -iste and directly from Latin -ista, from Greek -istes, from agential suffix -tes. Variant -ister (e.g. chorister, barister) is from Old French -istre, on false analogy of ministre. Variant -ista is from Spanish form, popularized in English 1970s by names of Latin-American revolutionary movements.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper