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-dom, suffix

Etymology: Old English -dóm = Old Saxon -dóm, Middle Dutch -doem, Dutch -dom, Old High German, Middle High German -tuom, German -tum.

  Abstract suffix of state, which has grown out of an independent n., orig. putting, setting, position, statute, Old High German tuom, position, condition, dignity, in Old English dóm, statute, judgement, jurisdiction, < stem dô- of do v.   + abstract suffix -moz, Old English -m, as in hel-m, sea-m, strea-m, etc. Frequent already in Old English as a suffix to nouns and adjectives, as biscopdóm the dignity of a bishop, cyningdóm, cynedóm, royal or kingly dominion, kingdom, ealdordóm the position or jurisdiction of an elder or lord; þeowdóm, the condition of a þeow or slave; fréodóm, háligdóm, wisdóm the condition or fact of being free, holy, or wise. The number of these derivatives has increased in later times, and -dom is now a living suffix, freely employed to form nonce-derivatives, not only with the sense of ‘condition, state, dignity’, but also with that of ‘domain, realm’ (fig.). See in their alphabetical places alderdom, Anglo-Saxondom, boredom, Christendom, cuckoldom, dukedom, earldom, freedom, kingdom, martyrdom, popedom, sheriffdom, thraldom, wisdom, etc. Examples of nonce-words appear in the quotations.

1880   New Virginians I. 237   Meanwhile curdom flourishes.
1882   H. C. Merivale Faucit of Balliol I. i. iv. 58   Entitled him to all the honours of B.A. dom.
1885   H. Pearson R. Browning 8   Pomona..to express all appledom and peardom.
1887   St. Louis Globe Democrat 2 Feb.   A real, live Dakota man..fresh from Blizzardom.
1889   Pall Mall Gaz. 3 Aug. 2/2   To test..the good-sailordom of the spectators.
1889   Pall Mall Gaz. 7 Oct. 2/1   Imagine Manchesterdom Protectionist.
1889   Pall Mall Gaz. 26 Dec. 1/3   The classic pile which..divides clubland from theatredom.
1890   Spectator 18 Jan.   A pervading atmosphere of topsy-turveydom.
1894   Times 27 Sept. 7/4   Says Mr. Labouchere, ‘Liberal officialdom has wet-blanketted it.’
1894   Times 6 June 11/3   The ranks of old fogeydom.
1894   G. A. Henty Dorothy's Double I. 91   A..specimen of English squiredom.

1880—1894(Hide quotations)


This entry has not yet been fully updated (first published 1897).

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