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Can you please tell me what -wise added to a word means? For example,

  1. Point-wise basis algorithm.
  2. Class-wise basis algorithm.
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  • I think it’s a way to make an adverb of a noun. Feb 19, 2021 at 5:29

2 Answers 2

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It means with respect to, or concerning the attached word. So a "point-wise [based] algorithm" is one with respect to points. A class-wise [based] algorithm is one that operates with respect to a class (as opposed to, for example, a person-wise algorithm which would operated based on individuals within the class.)

I put [based] in brackets because I think it is redundant in these phrases. It is implied by the -wise suffix. The phrases "point-wise algorithm, or "class-wise algorithm" are both perfectly clear without the extra word.

Perhaps an example: in the United States the President is elected by an electoral college, where each state gets a certain number of votes and (generally speaking) the candidate with the most votes in a state wins ALL the votes for that state. Then the actual president is chosen as the person with the most electoral votes. Some people think that is wrong, that the person who gets the most votes overall should win. For example, President Trump won the most electoral votes in 2016, whereas Hillary Clinton got the most individual votes.

So the US uses a state-wise electoral system, which, in 2016 gave Trump the Presidency, but if it had used an individual-wise electoral system, in 2016 Hillary Clinton would have become President.

Here is what the Grammarist says about it:

-wise is a suffix that is attached to a noun with a hyphen to form an adjective or adverb that means with respect to or concerning, in the manner of or in the direction of. Some words with the suffix -wise have dropped the hyphen and been accepted into English usage. Examples are clockwise, which means the direction in which the hands of a clock travel and lengthwise, meaning parallel with an item’s length. Coined words such as security-wise and price-wise are effective in conveying their meaning, but are not considered Standard English.

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Many times an adverb is formed from a noun by adding a suffix -wise, to give a sense of ‘in this way (a techniques or method) or that way (direction or place).

For example:

He walked sideways (in a way that was on the end side of the road).

Rectangle windows should be equal lengthwise (in a way that considers the length).

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