Word of the Day : July 10, 2012


adjective sye-EN-shul


1 : relating to or producing knowledge or science

2 : having efficient knowledge : capable

Did You Know?

You might expect "sciential," which derives from Latin "scientia" (meaning "knowledge"), to be used mostly in technical papers and descriptions of scientific experiments. In truth, however, "sciential" has long been a favorite of playwrights and poets. It appears in the works of Ben Jonson, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and John Keats, among others. Keats made particularly lyrical use of it in his narrative poem "Lamia," which depicts a doomed love affair between the Greek sorceress Lamia and a human named Lycius. In the poem, Hermes transforms Lamia from a serpent into a beautiful woman, "Not one hour old, yet of sciential brain."


Of the value of having a library at hand for a liberal education, Coleridge wrote: "There is no way of arriving at any sciential end but by finding it at every step."

"Whether editors should reproduce altered texts of poems because authors wanted them to do so, and whether literary scholarship has a sciential function at all … - these are extremely important questions." - From a review by Terence Allan Hoagwood in Criticism, September 22, 1997

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "borborygmus," our Word of the Day from June 24? The answer is ...


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