aff. use
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[/ex]
Etymology: pl. of -ic, repr. L -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.

From formal English to slang. 2014.

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