Samuel Johnson’s 1755 Dictionary of the English Language does not include the word science.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defined science as:[5]
1 – “In a general sense, knowledge, or certain knowledge; the comprehension or understanding of truth or facts by the mind. The science of God must be perfect.”
2 – “In philosophy, a collection of the general principles or leading truths relating to any subject. Pure science as the mathematics, is built on self-evident truths; but the term science is also applied to other subjects founded on generally acknowledged truths, as metaphysics; or on experiment and observation, as chimistry and natural philosophy; or even to an assemblage of the general principles of an art, as the science of agriculture; the science of navigation. Arts relate to practice, as painting and sculpture.
A principle in science is a rule in art.”
3 – “Art derived from precepts or built on principles.
Science perfects genius.”
4 – “Any art or species of knowledge.
No science doth make known the first principles on which it buildeth.”
5 – “One of the seven liberal branches of knowledge, viz grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music.
[Note – Authors have not always been careful to use the terms art and science with due discrimination and precision. Music is an art as well as a science In general, an art is that which depends on practice or performance, and science that which depends on abstract or speculative principles. The theory of music is a science; the practice of it an art.]”

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defined science as:[1]
1 – “the state of knowing knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding”
2a – “a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study”
2b – “something (such as a sport or technique) that may be studied or learned like systematized knowledge”
3a – “knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method”
3b – “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”
5 – “capitalized CHRISTIAN SCIENCE” defined it as:[2]
1 – “a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws…”
2 – “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.”
3 – “any of the branches of natural or physical science.”
4 – “systematized knowledge in general.”
5 – “knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.”
6 – “a particular branch of knowledge.”
7 – “skill, especially reflecting a precise application of facts or principles; proficiency.”

Lexico defined it as:[3]
1 – “The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.”
1.1 – “A particular area of science.”
1.2 – “A systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject.”
1.3 – “archaic Knowledge of any kind.”


“1300–50; Middle English <Middle French <Latin scientia knowledge, equivalent to scient- (stem of sciēns), present participle of scīre to know + -ia-ia”[2]

“14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1.
Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin scientia, from scient-, sciens having knowledge, from present participle of scire to know; perhaps akin to Sanskrit chyati he cuts off, Latin scindere to split — more at SHED entry 1″[1]

“mid-14c., “what is known, knowledge (of something) acquired by study; information;” also “assurance of knowledge, certitude, certainty,” from Old French science “knowledge, learning, application; corpus of human knowledge” (12c.), from Latin scientia “knowledge, a knowing; expertness,” from sciens (genitive scientis) “intelligent, skilled,” present participle of scire “to know,” probably originally “to separate one thing from another, to distinguish,” related to scindere “to cut, divide,” from PIE root *skei- “to cut, split” (source also of Greek skhizein “to split, rend, cleave,” Gothic skaidan, Old English sceadan “to divide, separate”).”[4]

“Middle English (denoting knowledge): from Old French, from Latin scientia, from scire ‘know’.”[3]

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[1] – “Science.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Oct. 2020.

[2] – Accessed 10 Oct. 2020.

[3] – Accessed 10 Oct. 2020.

[4] – Accessed 10 Oct. 2020.

[5] – Accessed 10 Oct. 2020.

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