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

Definition of science

1a : 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
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
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

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web Speaking to reporters in Beijing after the announcement, Wang Liping, an official with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said the shift was based on science. Fortune, 28 June 2022 Although the meeting was very science-oriented, the event was specifically designed to foster interactions between the researchers and those in the industry. Steven Savage, Forbes, 28 June 2022 But not the last person: a French woman living on a science station near Saturn, provides hope for human contact. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 28 June 2022 Waltz, the music historian, and Woody Sullivan, an astronomy professor from the University of Washington, are currently undertaking a critical biography of Herschel that combines science with music. New York Times, 27 June 2022 The science suggests what many patients know to be true: Pain is a combination of physical sensation, emotional trauma and memory. Jessica Dulong, CNN, 27 June 2022 In political-science terms, illiberalism means something more radical: a challenge to the very rules of the game. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, 27 June 2022 Youberg thinks science has come further toward understanding those new soil and hydrologic effects than at the turn of the 21st century, but says there’s still a long way to go. Melina Walling, The Arizona Republic, 27 June 2022 It’s all part of a new citizen science project, led by the university with support from NASA. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 27 June 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of science

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5

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

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Last Updated

30 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Science.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for science


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

More from Merriam-Webster on science

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