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This is connected to a question on BH-SE.
I have found a little in regard to the etymology of this word. For example, the root is obviously Sabbath. What significance does the greek ending "-ισμός" (-ismos) have?

I wondered if anyone here has any more particular/detailed insight than the Wiktionary offers.

Some specific questions: Does it self contain any indication of an article (definite or indefinite)? in other words, of itself would it be "a keeping of the Sabbath" or "the keeping of the Sabbath" or do words using an -ismos ending depend on the surrounding text for any article?

Would it be the equivalent of a deverbal noun or gerund in English? Would it be "keeping the Sabbath"

Does it maintain any number/gender from its root-- "(I keep the Sabbath)ing"

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    @user2027:-ισμός also has an etymology on Wiktionary. Only for Modern Greek but it might be of interest to you. I also added an etymology request to the Wiktionary article of the full word for you. Anybody can do this by the way. – hippietrail Jan 5 '14 at 14:29
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    Hey Thanks!! I had no idea that was available. And thanks for the edit! – Sarah Jan 5 '14 at 14:36
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The answer from @hippietrail's correspondent is pretty much on point, but the specifics have not quite been dealt with fully. So:

Sabbat-ismos "sabbathism, sabbathisation, sabbathising" is indeed a deverbal noun, arising from the verb sabbatizo "to act in a way associated with the/a Sabbath", i.e. "to observe the Sabbath".

Some specific questions: Does it self contain any indication of an article (definite or indefinite)? in other words, of itself would it be "a keeping of the Sabbath" or "the keeping of the Sabbath" or do words using an -ismos ending depend on the surrounding text for any article?

Ancient Greek nouns could be definite or indefinite in the absence of an explicit definite article: the definite article develops only gradually in ancient Greek, and even in Koine there are contexts where Greek does not use a definite article and English would. But without a definite article, the default assumption would be indefinite.

Would it be the equivalent of a deverbal noun or gerund in English? Would it be "keeping the Sabbath"

Yes. The "ideology" meaning is already around in ancient Greek (because the underlying verb suffix means "act in a matter associated with", and can mean "be a partisan of"). But the point of the noun suffix is to make the verb into an action noun.

Does it maintain any number/gender from its root-- "(I keep the Sabbath)ing"

No, no more than the gerund does in English.

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The Wiktionary contributor "Atelaes" responded to me privately about the further etymology request I posted for you:

-σμος (no entry yet) is a fairly standard suffix of action, used to make nouns from verbs ending in -ζω (no entry yet), similar to English -tion. Unfortunately, I don't really have enough info to create a suffix entry, but I thought I'd drop you a note, in case it was useful for your discussion (the link you provided doesn't work). Sorry I can't be of more help. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί

(And it looks like I better check the link I made there!)

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  • Thank you. My thanks to Atelaes as well. So, would Sabbatation convey its meaning appropriately/effectively to English? Do you know other similar words of Greek origin have come over into English? – Sarah Jan 6 '14 at 5:15
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    I do not know, but you can try asking in the "talk page" for either the word or Atelaes. Now that I've fixed the link Atelaes may decide to come here and offer more information ... – hippietrail Jan 6 '14 at 12:19
  • The English suffix -ism directly continues the Greek suffix. Most English words in -ism were created in languages other than Greek (mostly English and French, perhaps some in Latin) but on the model of genuine Greek works. – Colin Fine Jan 7 '14 at 0:33
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In modern Greek the ending -σμος is a rather common ending from:

  • Verbs ending in -ζω which normally have corresponding nouns ending in -σμος.
  • Words that may not derive from verbs (if such verbs exist anyway) but take this ending to create a new word which would have an abstract meaning like an idea, ideology, attitude etc. These often are loanwords (that some of them came back to Greek -in Greek they are called αντιδάνεια-) or simply translated words from other languages. Examples:
  • In Greek: καπιταλισμός (capitalism) does not derive from verb καπιταλίζω (does not exist in Greek as word) but it's just a translation of a foreign word.
  • παρασιτισμός (parasitism) is another such example which also uses as the first part a Greek loanword in which the ending was added. These often are work of french people who took original ancient (or medieval) Greek words and formed new ones. There isn't also any παρασιτίζω (although it could be understood under some conditions).

Some specific answers:

Does it self contain any indication of an article (definite or indefinite)?

In Greek the article is never attached to the noun or adjective. In this form it often coincide with the vocative case but for these nouns it's an exception and it just it nominative without article. When found in this form it implies an indefinite article but not a number (that is in English it would be a but not one since in Greece it's just one word).

In other words, of itself would it be "a keeping of the Sabbath" or "the keeping of the Sabbath"

It would be the latter.

Do words using an -ismos ending depend on the surrounding text for any article?

Greek has cases so the case depend on the surrounding text. In Greek all words have similar rules, not like in English for proper nouns, so it would take an article to match its case if necessary.

To the original question I guess that the etymology is simple enough: It derives from the verb σαββατίζω (and this from Hebrew Sabbath as you have mentioned) and it's not created by the second method since it's quite old word and at that time the adding of σμος in irrelevant words to apply a new meaning was not known.

P.S. In Greek Σάββατο means Saturday not Sunday and it has lost the original Hebrew meaning since the typical day of pray (if it's kept) for Greek-speaking people is Sunday (Κυριακή).

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