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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Synonyms for 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 That gave Lander a chance to defend several of the president’s proposals to beef up federal spending on science. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "Biden’s nominee for science chief issues apology, defends character at confirmation hearing," 29 Apr. 2021 The annual award is presented to acknowledge both past and present achievements in aerospace, science and technology. Cnn Editorial Research, CNN, "Michael Collins Fast Facts," 28 Apr. 2021 One of the most fascinating sections of this course looked even farther back at the U.K.'s history of science and technology that has its roots in the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, which started around 1660. Tim Bajarin, Forbes, "Should The U.S. Develop A Competitive Prize For Technology Breakthroughs?," 28 Apr. 2021 This is bringing our most important public-health body up to date with science from exactly a year ago. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Bring Kids Out of the COVID Fog Next," 28 Apr. 2021 The timing suggests that an earlier innovation was most likely driving much of the initial progress, one that originated far from the centers of Western science and medicine: variolation. New York Times, "How Humanity Gave Itself an Extra Life," 27 Apr. 2021 The campus and engineering hub is set to be located in the Raleigh-Durham area's Research Triangle Park alongside hundreds of other science and technology firms., "Apple announces first East Coast campus in North Carolina," 26 Apr. 2021 That being said, enamel can help with a more even distribution of heat, says Liheng Cai, Green’s collaborator on a science of cooking class and an assistant professor of materials science, chemical and biomedical engineering. Washington Post, "Regular vs. enameled cast iron: How they compare for cooking and cleaning," 26 Apr. 2021 There seems to be a short supply of science and common sense among the decision-makers. oregonlive, "Canzano: Monday Mailbag readers implore Gov. Kate Brown to allow kids to run outdoors without masks," 26 Apr. 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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Statistics for science

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Science.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 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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