Word Wednesday: The Language of Science

To the layman, science can be difficult to understand and the jargon may seem impenetrable to the untrained. However, that need not be the case. Like any other worthwhile endeavor, science requires precise knowledge.  The language of science can be quickly and easily translated with a little knowledge of Greek and Latin.

Don’t let that scare you. The thought of needing to understand Greek and Latin simply to be able to communicate effectively with a scientist may seem absurd, and in a way it is. The truth is that many scientists do not fully understand the meaning behind the words that they are using and only rote memorization helped them to achieve their level of fluency.

I am here to help you understand, to develop the knowledge necessary to comprehend the science that influences our daily lives. Let us start from the very beginning.

Science (n)

The word science comes from the Latin word scientia, meaning knowledge. It should therefore not come as a surprise that the word scientist refers to someone who pursues knowledge. In fact, the term scientist was coined in 1834 by William Whewell as a way to streamline the language when referring to these pursuers of knowledge. When traced to its roots, science seems to be a very noble profession!

For more background, you can check out the references below.

The Online Etymology Dictionary: Science

NPR: How The Word ‘Scientist’ Came To Be


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