science

noun

sci·​ence ˈsī-ən(t)s How to pronounce science (audio)
1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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
3
: a system or method reconciling practical ends with scientific laws
cooking is both a science and an art
4
capitalized : christian science
5
: the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web Besides being frozen, embryos can be discarded or donated, either to others wanting to have children or to medical science, Collura said. Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff, Washington Post, 21 Feb. 2024 With backgrounds in science and engineering, the crew members will be part of a simulated mission to Mars, where the crew will eat, drink and exercise while in simulation. Greg Wehner, Fox News, 20 Feb. 2024 While many people may read that and immediately think of software stacks and large language models, this particular science project begins with infrastructure—the storage, networking and servers that house, move and process the unprecedented amounts of data being used across the enterprise. Matt Kimball, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 Applicants must also have experience working in STEM – with a master's in engineering, math, biology or other sciences and professional experience or at least two years of doctoral work in these areas or a test pilot program. Caitlin O'Kane, CBS News, 19 Feb. 2024 Trips to the Galapagos with the company include local flights, a pre-cruise hotel, the Galápagos Islands National Park admission fee, excursions, and use of the ship’s science center complete with a library, microscopes, and samples. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, 19 Feb. 2024 Christopher Nolan’s biographical epic Oppenheimer is leading the pack of the 2024 BAFTA film nominees with 13 nominations, followed by Yorgos Lanthimos’ black comedy science fantasy Poor Things with 11 noms. Georg Szalai, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 Feb. 2024 What ensues is a high-adrenaline display of adventure science, requiring significant boating skills and the human power of nearly every person on the expedition. Cassidy Randall, Rolling Stone, 18 Feb. 2024 Editor’s note: A version of this story appeared in CNN’s Wonder Theory science newsletter. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 17 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'science.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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.")

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5

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

Dictionary Entries Near science

Cite this Entry

“Science.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/science. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

science

noun
sci·​ence ˈsī-ən(t)s How to pronounce science (audio)
1
a
: an area of knowledge that is an object of study
b
: something (as a sport or technique) that may be studied or learned like a science
have it down to a science
c
: any of the natural sciences (as biology, physics, or chemistry)
2
: knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through the scientific method
Etymology

Middle English science "the state of knowing, knowledge," from early French science (same meaning), from Latin scientia (same meaning), from scient-, sciens "knowing," from scire "to know" — related to conscious, nice, omniscient see Word History at nice

Medical Definition

science

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