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1. Science, art, study, or knowledge of, or skill in: photonics.
2. Actions, activities, or practices of: athletics.
3. Qualities or operations of: mechanics.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
suffix forming nouns (functioning as singular)
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 and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
a suffix of nouns that denote a body of facts, knowledge, principles, etc., usu. corresponding to adjectives ending in -ic or -ical: ethics; physics; politics; tactics.
[pl. of -ic, representing Latin -ica]
usage: Nouns ending in -ics that name fields of study, sciences, arts, professions, or the like are usu. 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.
International College of Surgeons.
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