How to Use This Book
237. LANGUAGE STYLE
248. LITERARY STYLE
-Ologies & -Isms is a thematic dictionary, with its entries organized under 430 thematic categories, each of which has two or (sometimes many) more appropriate entries listed beneath it. The 430 categories are presented in the text in alphabetic order by the name of the category heading (e.g., BIOLOGY, LITERATURE, PHOBIAS, WEATHER); a complete list, with ample cross references, is given in the Table of Thematic Categories, pp. 13-48.
The organization by thematic categories allows -Ologies & -Isms to be used like a thesaurus, that is, words can be found according to subject or concept. Having determined a desired category by consulting the Table of Thematic Categories, one has ready access to terms and their definitions without needing to know in advance the terms or their spelling. Thus, words like syllogism (under ARGUMENTATION and LOGIC), biosphere (under EARTH and LIFE), and thalassography (under SEA), whose form is not clearly suggestive of their subject, or which may simply be unfamiliar, are defined under appropriate categories, and can easily be consulted by this means.
Alphabetic access is also made possible through the Index, pp. 589-795, which lists all entries—headwords, variants, and derivative forms. Thus, -Ologies & -Isms can be used as a standard dictionary, by reference from the Index to the category or (as required) to the category and headword under which a term may be found.
To enhance accuracy and ease of use, certain terms, as appropriate, are defined under more than one category. For example, empleomania, defined as ‘an obsession with public employment,’ appears under categories BUREAUCRACY and WORK. In some cases, the same headword appears under two or more categories, but with a different definition at each, in accord with the category. An example is sensationalism, which appears as follows under four different categories:
sensationalism yellow journalism.
yellow journalism the practice of seeking out sensational news for the purpose of boosting a newspaper’s circulation, or, if such stories are hard to find, of trying to make comparatively innocuous news appear sensational. Also called sensationalism. —yellow journalist, n.
2. such subject matter, language, or style itself. —sensationalist, n. — sensationalistic, ad].
sensationalism the act of shocking or intent to shock, especially through the media; the practice of using startling but superöcial effects, in art, literature, etc., to gain attention. See also literary style; philosophy. — sensationalist, n.
sensationalism 1. the doctrine that all ideas are derived from and essentially reducible to sense perceptions. Also called sensuism.
2. Ethics. the doctrine that the good is to be judged only by or through the gratification of the senses. Also called sensualism. See also ethics; literary style; media, —sensationalist, n. —sensationalistic, adj.
Focusing as it does on nouns with certain specific suffixes and semantic content, -Ologies & -Isms defines, in a convenient format, thousands of terms that can otherwise be found only in specialized and technical sources, and so can serve as a complement to any collection of dictionaries.