-ist repr. F. -iste, L. -ista, -tēs — Gr. -istḗs, forming agent-nouns from vbs. in -izein -IZE, consisting of the agential suffix -tēs added to the vb.-stem, as in baptistés BAPTIST. Several Gr. words were adopted into classical L. (e.g. citharista player on the cithara, grammatista grammarian), and many more by Christian writers (e.g. baptista, psalmista); later the suffix came into regular use for the designations of observers of particular tenets or rites or the followers of religious leaders (e.g. Catharista, Platonista, nōminālista). In Eng. and the mod. langs. the suffix forms not only agent-nouns having corr. verbs in -ize, but analogues of sbs. in -ism (e.g. altruism, -ist), and names of followers of a leader or a school, of adherents of a party, and of devotees of a profession or art, e.g. Bonapartist, Chartist, cyclist, nonconformist, philologist, royalist. Cf. -ISM.
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