The Spanish suffix '-ista' denotes someone associated with something. This has been adopted into English in one example I can think of, namely a 'fashionista'. One would have expected many more but I can't immediately think of any that are regulary used. Can anyone else help, please?
The Spanish -ista suffix has in the last few generations become a reasonably common and at least semi-productive suffix in English. It’s nothing compared to our native -ist, but we do have a surprising number of imports with -ista.
In Spanish, where there is not an -ist suffix but only -ista, the suffix is used for nouns and adjectives alike. But unlike in Spanish, in English it is almost always used for nouns, not exclusively for adjectives. The sole “only an adjective” example I could find in English is modernista. That because we have the highly productive -ist suffix in English to do the adjectival work. So you usually see -ista only in words borrowed from southern Romance languages, and even then, it is almost always a noun, not an adjective.
The OED2++ lists these 38 noun and/or adjective entries that end with -ista:
- Aˈprista [adj.] ← Apra
- autopista [n.]
- barista [n.]
- capoeirista [n.]
- Clintonista [n.]
- crista [n.]
‖euporista [n. pl.] ←
- fashionista [n.]
‖hasta la vista [n.]
- hasta la vista [int. (and n.)]
- minifundista [n.]
- modernista [adj.]
- opus deista [n.]
- Paulista [n.]
- Peronista [n. and adj.]
- peronista [n. and adj.]
‖prima vista [n.]
‖Protista [n. pl.]
- Protoctista [n.]
- reconquista [n.]
- Sandinista [n. (and adj.)]
- Sandinista [n.]
- Senderista [n. and adj.]
- Sinarquista [n.]
- Somocista [n. and adj.]
- torista [n.]
- turista [n.]
- vista [n.]
- Zapatista [n. and adj.]
‖ sigil indicates a foreign term not necessarily yet fully assimilated into English.
Just to keep everything in perspective, the same source also list 2,525 noun entries ending in a bare -ist without the terminal a, and 331 such entries that are adjectives.
However, there is some overlap between those, as it is easy to turn someone with — say, a prescriptivist perspective into actually being a prescriptivist.
There’s also something peculiar about -ist words (but not borrowed -ista ones) in that they are strange attractors for other suffixes that can lead to long agglutinative chains.
- agonist, agonistic, agonistical, agonistically
- archaic, archaicist, archaicistic, archaicistically
- jurist, juristic, juristical, juristically
- linguist, linguistic, linguistical, linguistically
- material, materialist, materialistic, materialistically
The -ista is used in imitation of Sandinista, the common name of the left-wing revolutionary movement in Nicaragua founded in the 1930s. To a lesser extent, it may reference the Peronistas (followers of Juan Perón), or other Latin American radical movements.
Such movements attracted particular concern in the United States following the Cuban Revolution, and the Sandinistas became a household name after their successful overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship in 1979— spawning Congressional battles over US funding for the opposition Contras, various Hollywood action movies, the Iran-Contra scandal which crippled the second term of the Reagan administration, and my least favorite Clash album.
Why -ista instead of the ordinary -ist, as with adherents to the Bolshevist, Stalinist, and other camps? It imparts an element of foreign exoticism that underscores the radicalism; -ista may thus be considered a sister to Sputnik-inspired -nik that gave us beatniks and peaceniks. Also similar are -ariat (from proletariat, whence commentariat, professoriat) and -rati (from literati, whence glitterati and now twitterati).
Guardianista was coined as a term of abuse for enthusiasts of The Guardian, a leftish British newspaper, suggesting that they were perhaps fellow travelers.
Fashionista was popularized by Stephen Fried's Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of the Supermodel Gia, published in 1993. Although he is often credited with coining it, it appears in earlier works, like 1992's Vague : Violet Pea, a fashionista by a William Conway.
In any case, by then, the civil war in Nicaragua and the Cold War had both abated, and -ista has largely lost its revolutionary connotations; conservatives grumbled about Clintonistas in the 1990s but that was that. Nowadays it can gently mock someone's obsession with something, but can also be taken as a label of pride. For example, in the web development word, a standardista is one interested in the adoption and adherence to standard language specifications from official bodies.
Guardianista - Readers of The Guardian newspaper.
Typically middle-class, excessively liberal, if not Marxist, politically-correct idealists. Tend to live in places like Islington, Newington Green etc and though they claim to fight for workers rights have nothing but contempt for the average working-class persons opinion, or for that matter anyone who has not got an Undergraduate degree.