Where in English lit. for clearer 'science' meaning?

The term science finds its roots in the Latin root “scientia” which means ‘to know’. Thus, classically, the term science simply inferred a state of ‘knowing’ theoretical knowledge specifically, in opposed to practical knowledge.

In the Middle Ages, however, the term ‘arts’, used to describe practical knowledge, and the term ‘science’ began to be used more interchangeably. This resulted in a fusion of ‘liberal arts’ and ‘liberal sciences’ as referring to the same field of knowledge

Modern day dictionaries are a bit more specific, offering a variety of approaches, such as:

• Macmillan’s definition- The study and knowledge of the physical world and its behavior that is based on experiments and facts that can be proved, and organized into a system. [1]

• Oxford defines science as- The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. [2]

• Cambridge’s definition of science being- Knowledge from the careful study of the structure and behavior of the physical world, especially by watching, measuring, and doing experiments, and the development of theories to describe the results of these activities. [3]

• Or even the American Heritage Dictionary’s definition, which states-  Science can be defined as “the observation, identification, description, experimental investigation and theoretical explanation of natural phenomena.” [4]


1. Macmillan Online Dictionary. Article (Science).

2. Oxford Online Dictionary. Article (Science).

3. Cambridge Online Dictionary. Article (Science).

4. The American Heritage Online Dictionary, 2nd College Edition.