-ics

-ics

a suffix of nouns that denote a body of facts, knowledge, principles, etc., usually corresponding to adjectives ending in -ic, or -ical:, ethics; physics; politics; tactics .

Origin:
plural of -ic, representing Latin -ica (< Greek -ika, neuter plural of -ikos), as in rhētórica (plural) rhetoric book


Nouns ending in -ics that name fields of study, sciences, arts, professions, or the like are usually not preceded by an article and are used with a singular verb: Acoustics (the science) deals with sound. Politics (the art of government) fascinates me. In certain uses, often when preceded by a determiner like the, his, her, or their, most of these nouns can take a plural verb: The acoustics (the sound-reflecting qualities) of the hall are splendid. Their politics (political opinions) have antagonized everyone.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
-ics
 
suffix forming nouns
1.  indicating a science, art, or matters relating to a particular subject: aeronautics; politics
2.  indicating certain activities or practices: acrobatics
 
[plural of -ic, representing Latin -ica, from Greek -ika, as in mathēmatika mathematics]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

-ics
in the names of sciences or disciplines (acoustics, aerobics, economics, etc.) it represents a 16c. revival of the classical custom of using the neuter plural of adjectives with -ikos (see -ic) to mean "matters relevant to" and also as the titles of treatises about them. Subject
matters that acquired their names in English before c.1500, however, tend to remain in singular (e.g. arithmetic, logic).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

-ics suff.

  1. Science; art; study; knowledge; skill: pharmaceutics.

  2. Actions, activities, or practices of: macrobiotics.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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