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

Example Sentences

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 In data science, informal prefixes were already starting to become common, leading to the potential for confusion. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 21 Nov. 2022 Students in grades 3 through 8 take tests in math and reading, and students in grades 4, 6, 8, and 11 also take a test in science. Trisha Powell Crain | Tcrain@al.com, al, 18 Nov. 2022 Lib, a nurse who believes in science, is determined to find out how Anna is surviving without food. Town & Country, 18 Nov. 2022 The Athena Film Festival, which celebrates female leadership, has revealed the third annual winner of its Alfred P. Sloan development grant, aimed at highlighting the role of women in science. Hilary Lewis, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 Nov. 2022 Brookings counted only individuals who earned a degree in science or engineering and subsequently practiced in the field. Karen Hao, WSJ, 18 Nov. 2022 Eubanks graduated from the University of Arkansas with a bachelor's degree in kinesiology-exercise science in 2012. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 16 Nov. 2022 Natalie graduated from Hannibal-LaGrange with a degree in exercise science and met her husband, Shawn, while running on the cross country and track teams. Mike Kilen, USA TODAY, 15 Nov. 2022 But overlapping interest in material science led to genuine collaboration. WIRED, 11 Nov. 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.

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 Dec. 2022.

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

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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