A suffix of nouns that denotes science, knowledge, principles, characteristic actions or
activities, such as → physics,
→ statistics, → ballistics,
politics, ethics. See also → -logy.
Suffix -ics, from -ic + plural suffix -s, from O.Fr. -ique, from L.
-icus, Gk. -ikos; cf. O.E. -ig, from P.Gmc. *-iga, Ger. -ig.
Mod.Pers. -ik, from Mid.Pers. -ik or -ig, possibly from
the Av. noun and adjective forming suffix -ika, -ka, -aka (as in
ainika- "face," maršdika- "mercy," pairikā-
"fairy," kasvika- "trifling," kutaka- "small," ahmāka-
"ours"). In Mid.Pers. it had an extensive use for
creating adjectives of relation. Some examples:
cihrik, cihrig "natural," from cihr (Mod.Pers. cehr);
gohrik, gohrig "natural, essential," from gohr (Mod.Pers. gowhar);
gumânik, gumânig "doubtful," from gumân (Mod.Pers. gomân);
kunišnik "doable, related to action," from konišn
mânik, mânig "household belonging, household member," from mân
manik "mine, related to me," from man (Mod.Pers. man);
narik "related to male," from nar (Mod.Pers. nar);
xvartik, xwarišnig "edible," from xvart, xwarišn
(Mod.Pers. xord, xoreš);
gâsânik, gâhânig "related to the Gathas (the oldest songs of the Avesta, which are
attributed to Zarathushtra himself)," from gâsân (Mod.Pers. gâhân);
dâtik, dâdig "legal, concerned with the law," from dât
Although it has changed into -i
in Mod.Pers. (like O.E. -ig into E. -y, as in
juicy, dreamy), it
is extant in a number of adjectives: târik "dark;" nazdik "near;"
bârik "narrow;" zandik (Arabicized zandiq) "heretic;"
Monjik (Termezi), pen name of an 11th century Persian poet, from monj
"honeybee," referring to his poems being as sweet as honey.
is active in the Tabari dialect, as in larzenik "fearful,"
ramendik "timid, fugitive," xordinik "very small,"
bermendik, bərmənik "person who crys easily, highly sensitive person,"
from bərmən "cry," and also
appears as -ij, for example yušij
"related to, belong to Yuš (a famous village in Mâzandarân)."
In recent years -ik has been reactivated in technical terminology to render
E. -ics (Fr. -ique, Ger. -ik), as in the following examples:
âvâyik (آواییک) "phonetics;"
farmânik (فرمانیک) "cybernetics;"
ma'nâyik (معناییک) "semantics;"
nurik (نوریک) "optics;"
partâbik (پرتابیک) "ballistics;"
tavânik, niruyik (توانیک، نیروییک) "dynamics;"
zabânik (زبانیک) "linguistics."
The revival of -ik is interesting for several reasons, mainly:
a) In the European scientific terminology, branches of science are denoted by
1) -logy, as in biology, geology, mineralogy, etc. The Pers. counterpart of
this suffix is the widely used -šenâsi (-شناسی),
2) -ics, as in biotics, dynamics, kinematics, mathematics,
etc. Lacking a Pers.
equivalent until recently, -ics was equated with -logy. However,
the Pers. suffix -ik produces helpful semantic nuances and
allows us new constructions from the same base, for example:
→ biology "zistšenâsi" (زیستشناسی);
→ biotics "zistik" (زیستیک).
b) Moreover, in some cases -ik is more efficient than -šenâsi.
For example, if we translate ballistics
by partâbšenâsi (پرتابشناسی)
how should we render ballistic missile?
Mušak-e partâbšenâsi (موشک ِ پرتابشناسی),
mušak-e partâbšenâxti (موشک ِ پرتابشناختی),
or mušak-e partâbšenâsâné (موشک ِ پرتابشناسانه)?
All these possibilities seem unfitting, and
no matter which adjective we choose among them
the problem remains. The reason is that here ballistic does
not really refer to the science (-šenâsi) but points to
the action of throwing, → ballistic missile.
This problem can be turned around using -ik:
mušak-e partâbik (موشک ِ پرتابیک).
It is not phonetically straightforward in Pers. to make adjectives with the -i suffix
from words which end in -i, in particular with -šenâsi. The use of -ik
solves this problem and produces adjectives which themselves do not end in -i,
for example → astronomical unit "yekâ-ye axtaršnâsik"
(یکای ِ اخترشناسیک) instead of "~ axtaršnâxti".