I think this community could help me a lot. In sociology of culture the term orthodoxy refers to ideas held by most and imposed by cultural institutions, so that the "doxa", or opinion, is maintained for a long time and is difficult to depart from. In art, this would easily apply to the academic art of the XVII to XIX centuries, but the closer you get to the second half of the last century and to our times, the more fluid these ideas get, because many cultural institutions compete and no institution can really impose ideas as strongly.

So I think a softened term would be needed instead of orthodoxy, so that one would be able to refer to ideas that are shared by many for some time. Ideally a neologism, replacing the prefix "ortho-" and keeping "-doxy", both to refer to "opinion" and to keep some familiarity with the term replaced. Could you help?

  • Hello, Fla Brites, Welcome to ELU! Just to be clear, coining of neologisms is off-topic here, as per this post and the other documentation (questions here should have real answers about actual usage). If you are asking for a single word (which may or not be available!), can you please give a sample sentence with a blank where you would use it? Cheers!
    – Conrado
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 3:09
  • If you really want to keep the -doxy, beware of these, harvested from the English Speculum: adoxy paradoxy amidoxy cacodoxy pseudodoxy hyperothodoxy orthodoxy ultraorthodoxy unorthodoxy iodoxy heterodoxy. Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 3:31
  • Hello, Conrado. Indeed, there is much more about language as it is here than about language as it could be. But coining, creating and modifying is also part of the historical development of languages. As a social scientist I'd better ask for the help of experts. I read a brilliant discussion here, coincidentally on the substitution of "ortho-" for the coining a new scientific term. Although I found the answers given there amazing, the meaning I intend for the substitution is different. See english.stackexchange.com/questions/192600/…
    – Fla Brites
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 13:00
  • zeitgeist. Sorry, it's not greek.
    – stevesliva
    Commented Dec 6, 2020 at 5:03
  • That said, you seem to want something that reflects not demo doxy, but aristo doxy or maybe paideia doxy.
    – stevesliva
    Commented Dec 6, 2020 at 5:15

1 Answer 1


No single word seems to turn up, but the standard term for what is generally believed about a particular subject by both experts and the general public is the conventional wisdom. The phrase is part of the title of a book: Untruth: Why the Conventional Wisdom Is (Almost Always) Wrong, by Robert Samuelson, an economist of the mid-nineteenth century.


  • Hi, Xane. Thank you for sharing. Unfortunately, "conventional wisdom" doesn't cut a good answer in the sociological debate. I am glad you brought this classic up, but the academic debate has advanced, and the term is considered, today, too imprecise. The 19th century term was used in a time when "Thought" was considered from a platonic sense. Doxa, orthodoxy and heterodoxy are terms of a current debate in which sociologists relate not thought (which is vague), but discourse (what is actually said or written), to social hierarchical positions within disputing groups of cultural production.
    – Fla Brites
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 13:21

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