Entries linking to toxicity
1660s, from French toxique and directly from Late Latin toxicus "poisoned," from Latin toxicum "poison," from Greek toxikon (pharmakon) "(poison) for use on arrows," from toxikon, neuter of toxikos "pertaining to arrows or archery," and thus to a bow, from toxon "bow," probably from a Scythian word that also was borrowed into Latin as taxus "yew." Watkins suggests a possible source in Iranian taxša- "bow," from PIE *tekw- "to run, flee." As a noun from 1890. Toxic waste is by 1888 in medicine, "toxin;" by 1955 as "chemical or radioactive waste."
word-forming element making abstract nouns from adjectives and meaning "condition or quality of being ______," from Middle English -ite, from Old French -ete (Modern French -ité) and directly from Latin -itatem (nominative -itas), suffix denoting state or condition, composed of -i- (from the stem or else a connective) + the common abstract suffix -tas (see -ty (2)).
Roughly, the word in -ity usually means the quality of being what the adjective describes, or concretely an instance of the quality, or collectively all the instances; & the word in -ism means the disposition, or collectively all those who feel it. [Fowler]
updated on February 18, 2014