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According to dictionaries, one of the meanings of the word dynamic is:

a system with continuous change

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/dynamic
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dynamic

However, it's used as adjective. I'm writing a text in which I need to refer to continuous change and changeability and I thought of the word dynamism. In other words, I need the noun form of the dynamic. However, seems that dynamism is not used as that meaning.

For example, instead of the level of changeability and the amount of change in a system, I'd like to write system's dynamism level.

Can I use dynamism in that meaning? If not, what word should I use?

  • Dynamic potential? – Jack Ryan Aug 19 '13 at 18:13
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It's actually defined as a noun in the OED (at least the British English version):

noun [ mass noun ]

1 the quality of being characterized by vigorous activity and progress: the dynamism and strength of the economy.

• the quality of being dynamic and positive in attitude: he was known for his dynamism and strong views.

So, in your example, you could say "the level of dynamism in the system" or "the system's level of dynamism."

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Chambers (a British English dictionary) has the following definitions:

dynamic1 adj
1. full of energy, enthusiasm and new ideas.
2. relating to dynamics.
dynamically adverb.
ETYMOLOGY: 19c: from Greek dynamis power.

dynamism2 noun
limitless energy and enthusiasm.

Those definitions tend to confirm the implications from the OED definitions (quoted in the answer from @somerandomnerdyguy) that dynamic and dynamism imply vigorous change, full of energy (which is what I would infer from the words).

But continuous change and changeability (as referred to by the OP) need not necessarily be vigorous or full of energy: the level of changeability and the amount of change in a system may be slow and/or low.

Additionally, dynamic and dynamism (to me) have a connotation of the change being desired, wanted, a good thing, etc.; whereas, again, the change may be inevitable but not necessarily 'desired'.

So personally, I would be hesitant about using dynamic or dynamism in the suggested context, but it may be appropriate depending on the 'type' of change being referred to.

  • A better alternative may be "ever-changing" which refers more directly to constant change and doesn't have a positive implication. – HamHamJ Dec 22 '14 at 21:48
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For that concept I would agree with user afterfake13 to suggest the word dynamicity, as "the quality of being dynamic".

It follows on a very widely used and understood pattern for forming abstract nouns from adjectives of Latin or Greek origin: compare "simplicity" and "simple", or "vulnerability" and "vulnerable", etc.

Despite not being listed in mainstream dictionaries, dynamicity is widely used and understood, at least in technical contexts: an Internet search turns up almost 200,000 pages that use it.

Moreover, it is not a neologism, because it has been in use for more than a century, as we can see in this issue of the Chemical News and Journal of Physical Science of July, 1867 (second word on the third line).

On the other hand, dynamism is usually seen in contexts where it refers to people, and it appears to me to point more to their mindset, or their inclination: as the Merriam-Webster puts it, it's a "strong desire to make things happen", and it's more like a philosophical theory (just like many other words that end in -ism) than an abstract quality.

  • Welcome to ELU and thank you for providing a pleasant surprise in the Late answer review queue with this answer. However there is already a low quality answer mentioning the word. While your answer does give all the things the other is lacking, a short mention of it already being mentioned could further improve it. +1 – Helmar Nov 3 '16 at 17:03
  • Thanks @Helmar for the kudos! I have edited my answer to mention the previous answer suggesting the same word. I would actually have added my comments to that answer, but I didn't have enough reputation to do so. – Mauro Cicognini Nov 3 '16 at 17:16
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Dynamicity is a derived noun that might be a better word.

  • 1
    Since "dynamicity", on first blush, appears to be a neologism, you could preemptively defend your answer from downvotes by referencing a dictionary which defines it (i.e. find a dictionary that lists it, quote the defintion, and add a link back to the dictionary). – Dan Bron Feb 18 '15 at 18:52
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I came across this post looking for an answer to the same question about a noun form for dynamic. I like both dynamism and dynamicity but neither really worked for me. I ended up changing the word to fluidity and that worked a lot better!

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I'd suggest variablility or perhaps the phrase "the system's level/degree of variability".

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Why not stick with dynamic? It seems to work fine in your context. Just to clarify, the word dynamic is both an adjective and a noun. So saying,

... system's dynamic level...

sounds fine.

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I would go with 'Dynamics' as a noun and say

The dynamics of the system increases / decreases.

or

The level of dynamics in the system...

  • Reading your answer in isolation (because I came across it in the review queue), I have to say that "The dynamics of the system increases" makes no sense at all to me. I can't work out what you're trying to say, so that can't be the best way of phrasing it! – David Richerby Dec 22 '14 at 22:09

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