Definition: Science

From New World Encyclopedia


From the Middle English word science, also scyence, which itself comes from the Old French word science or escience, from the Latin scientia meaning knowledge, which was originally sciens, a conjugation of the Latin verb scire, which means to know.


science (usually uncountable except in certain contexts, plural sciences)

  1. A particular discipline or branch of learning, especially one dealing with measurable or systematic principles rather than intuition or natural ability.
  2. The collective discipline of study or learning acquired through the scientific method; the sum of knowledge gained from such methods and discipline.
  3. Knowledge derived from scientific disciplines, scientific method, or any systematic effort.
  4. The scientific community.
  5. In the phrase "the science," the sport of boxing. Synonym of "sweet science."

Usage notes

Since the middle of the twentieth century, the term science is normally used to indicate the natural sciences (e.g., chemistry), the social sciences (e.g., sociology), and the formal sciences (e.g., mathematics). In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the term was broader and encompassed scholarly study of the humanities (e.g., grammar) and the arts (e.g., music).

Derived terms


New World Encyclopedia writers and editors copied and adjusted this Wiktionary entry in accordance with NWE standards. This article abides by terms of the Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3.0 License (CC-by-sa), which may be used and disseminated with proper attribution. Credit for this article is due to both New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation. To cite this article click here for a list acceptable citing formats.The history of earlier contributions at Wiktionary is accessible to researchers here: