sci·​ence | \ ˈsī-ən(t)s How to pronounce science (audio) \

Definition of science

1 : the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding
2a : a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study the science of theology
b : something (such as a sport or technique) that may be studied or learned like systematized knowledge have it down to a science
3a : knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method
b : such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena : natural science
4 : a system or method reconciling practical ends with scientific laws cooking is both a science and an art
5 capitalized : christian science

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Examples of science in a Sentence

The Malay tapir, the largest of the world's four tapir species, remained largely invisible to science until recently. The other three species of these odd, endearing animals all live in South America. — Anthony King, New York Times, 2 June 2009 If there were any doubt, Golden's muckraking investigation—he is the Ida Tarbell of college admissions—reveals that almost every word uttered by representatives of the top colleges about the care and nuance and science of the much vaunted admissions process is bunk. — Michael Wolff, New York Times Book Review, 17 Sept. 2006 Of course, there is both corporate and government-sponsored grant money available for such initiatives in science and engineering. And scientists are used to working together in laboratories. But in the humanities it was different, said the deans. — David Laurence, Association of Departments of English Bulletin, Winter 2004 The journal Annales was started in 1929, by Bloch and Lucien Febvre, two friends conversant with the new sciences of sociology and geography, psychology and anthropology. — Stephen Kotkin, New Yorker, 29 Sept. 2003 The program encourages students to pursue a career in science. a list of terms commonly used in science a new branch of science advances in science and technology Students are required to take two sciences. students majoring in a science
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Recent Examples on the Web For Fauci, science was a self-correcting compass always pointed at the truth. Hamilton Cain Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, 4 June 2021 Aside from the eco-friendly ethos, the science behind these sunscreens is unbelievable. Bea Mcmonagle, Forbes, 29 May 2021 But experts say the science isn’t that simple and the tests raise ethical questions. Los Angeles Times, 27 May 2021 In other words, the science was there, but the humanities were left behind. David M. Perry, CNN, 27 May 2021 Of all the arenas in life that COVID has upended, science is perhaps the field that has been transformed the most. William A. Haseltine, Scientific American, 25 May 2021 While health experts say the science is solid, there are still certain factors vaccinated people need to account for before returning to normal. Dallas News, 21 May 2021 On one hand, the science is clear: Vaccinated people are at far lower risk of contracting Covid-19 than the unvaccinated and therefore pose little risk of transmitting it to others. Zoë Mclaren, Wired, 20 May 2021 Experts in pediatrics, infectious disease, and childhood immunization insist the science is clear: the benefits far and away outweigh any risks. Karen Pallarito,, 20 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'science.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of science

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for science

Middle English, "knowledge, the ability to know, learning, branch of knowledge," borrowed from Anglo-French science, cience, borrowed from Latin scientia "knowledge, awareness, understanding, branch of knowledge, learning," noun derivative from scient-, sciens, present participle of sciō, scīre "to know," perhaps going back to Indo-European *skh2-i(e/o)-, present tense formation from a verbal base *skeh2-, *skh2- "cut open, flay" (if sense development was "cut, incise, mark" > "distinguish" > "know"), whence also Sanskrit -chyati "(s/he) flays, pulls off (skin)" (verbal adjective chātaḥ, chitáḥ) and perhaps Greek scházō, scházein, also scháō, schân "to make an incision, open (a vein), let flow"

Note: Regarding earlier use of the words science and scientist see the reference to the article by Sydney Ross in the note at scientist. — Lexikon der indogermanischen Verben (2. Auflage, 2001) regards Latin sciō as a back-formation from nesciō, nescīre "to not know, be unfamiliar with," going back to *ne-skH-ii̯e-, a negative compound from the base of secō, secāre "to cut, sever, make an incision" (see saw entry 2), going back to *sekai̯e-, going back to *sekH-i̯e-. M. de Vaan (Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the Other Italic Languages, Brill, 2008), on the other hand, hypothesizes that sciō is formed with an athematic suffix from *skh2-, so that as a present formation it is directly comparable with Sanskrit -chyati. The semantic progression producing a verb meaning "know" is in any case questionable, if, as the Indo-Iranian and Greek evidence suggests, the base *skeh2-, *skh2- means primarily "cut open, flay" (rather than "split, separate"). Ernout and Meillet (Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue latine) note that while this is the only plausible comparison for sciō, it is not at all certain ("Le rapprochement avec le groupe de 'couper' est en l'air, tout en étant, semble-t-il, le seul possible.")

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Time Traveler for science

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The first known use of science was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

6 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Science.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for science



English Language Learners Definition of science

: knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation
: a particular area of scientific study (such as biology, physics, or chemistry) : a particular branch of science
: a subject that is formally studied in a college, university, etc.


sci·​ence | \ ˈsī-əns How to pronounce science (audio) \

Kids Definition of science

1 : knowledge about the natural world that is based on facts learned through experiments and observation
2 : an area of study that deals with the natural world (as biology or physics)
3 : a subject that is formally studied the science of linguistics
4 : something that can be studied and learned Pitching is a science.


sci·​ence | \ ˈsī-ən(t)s How to pronounce science (audio) \

Medical Definition of science

: knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through the scientific method and concerned with the physical world and its phenomena


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