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a combining form used to form abstract nouns corresponding to nouns ending in -phile: bibliophilism.
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Origin of -philism

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does -philism mean?

The combining form -philism is used like a suffix to indicate the abstract noun form of words that use the form -phile, meaning “love or liking,” “unnatural attraction,” or “tendency.” The form -philism roughly means “a liking, tendency, or attraction.” It is used in scientific terms, albeit extremely rarely.

The form -philism is made from a combination of two combining forms. The first is -phile, from Greek phílos, meaning “dear, beloved.” The second form is the suffix -ism. The suffix -ism ultimately comes from Greek -ismos, an ending used to form nouns.

While -philism doesn’t have any variants, it is related to several other combining forms: -phile, -philia, -philiac, -philic, -philous, and -phily. Want to know more? Check out our Words that Use articles for each form.

Examples of -philism

One of the very few words that uses the combining form -philism is necrophilism, or necrophilia, meaning “an erotic attraction to corpses.”

The first part of the word, necro-, means “corpse,” “the dead,” or “dead tissue,” from Greek nekrós. The -philism part of the word here means “attraction.” Necrophilism literally translates to “corpse attraction.”

What are some other forms that -philism may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The combining form biblio- means “book.” With this in mind, what does bibliophilism mean in everyday language?