omniscient (adj.)

"possessing knowledge of all things, having universal knowledge," c. 1600, from Modern Latin omniscientem (nominative omnisciens) "all-knowing," a back-formation from Medieval Latin omniscientia "all-knowledge," from Latin omnis "all" (see omni-) + scientia "knowledge" (see science). Related: Omnisciently.

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prescience (n.)

"foreknowledge, second sight, knowledge of events before they take place," late 14c., from Old French prescience (13c.) and directly from Late Latin praescientia "fore-knowledge," from *praescientem, present participle of *praescire "to know in advance," from Latin prae "before" (see pre-) + scire "to know" (see science).

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prescient (adj.)

"foreknowing, having knowledge of events before they take place," 1620s, from French prescient (15c.) and directly from Latin praescientem (nominative praesciens), present participle of praescire "to know in advance," from Latin prae "before" (see pre-) + scire "to know" (see science). Related: Presciently.

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scientist (n.)

"person versed in or devoted to science," 1834, a hybrid coined from Latin scientia (see science) by the Rev. William Whewell, English polymath, by analogy with artist, in the same paragraph in which he coined physicist (q.v.). There is an isolated use of sciencist from 1778, and scientician was used in 1885. Scientaster "petty or inferior scientist" is by 1899 (see -aster).

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scientism (n.)

"belief in the omnipotence of scientific knowledge and methods and in their applicability to everything," a derogatory term, by 1870 (G.B. Shaw); see science + -ism. An earlier word was scientificism (1825) "restriction of analysis or explanation to what is scientifically demonstrable."

Particularly is the present age of science characterized by a predominance of observation over reflection. One would think from the general tendency in this direction that science was little else than gathering of facts. So it has come to pass that a fresh discovery gives warrant for any inference,—for any theory. ... That facts should be valued mainly for the principles they reveal, modern scientism could hardly understand, much less believe. [Henry N. Day, "President McCosh's Logic," The New Englander, July, 1870]
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conscious (adj.)
Origin and meaning of conscious

c. 1600, "knowing, privy to" (poetic), from Latin conscius "knowing, aware," from conscire "be (mutually) aware," from assimilated form of com "with," or "thoroughly" (see con-) + scire "to know" (see science). The Latin word probably is a loan-translation of Greek syneidos.

The sense of "knowing or perceiving within oneself, sensible inwardly, aware" is from 1630s, perhaps a shortening of conscious to oneself (1620s). Also compare the Latin sense evolution in conscience. From 1650s as "aware (of a fact)." Sense of "active and awake, endowed with active mental faculties" is from 1837. Related: Consciously.

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scilicet (adv.)

"that is, namely, to wit," late 14c., a Latin word used in English, "you may know, you may be sure, it is certain," used in sense "that is to say, namely," a contraction of scire licit "it is permitted to know," from scire "to know" (see science); for second element see licit. It was used as was Old English hit is to witanne, literally "it is to wit" (see wit (v.)). Often abbreviated sc. or scil.

Its function is to introduce : (a) a more intelligible or definite substitute, sometimes the English, for an expression already used ... (b) a word &c. that was omitted in the original as unnecessary, but is thought to require specifying for the present audience .... [Fowler]
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plebiscite (n.)

"direct vote of the people, an expression of the will or pleasure of the whole people in regard to some matter already decided upon," 1852 (originally in English in reference to France), from French plébiscite (1776 in modern sense, originally with reference to Switzerland), from Latin plebiscitum "a decree or resolution of the people," from plebs (genitive plebis) "the common people" (see plebeian (adj.)) + scitum "decree," noun use of neuter past participle of sciscere "to assent, vote for, approve," inchoative of scire "to know" (see science). Used earlier (1530s) in a purely historical context, "law enacted in ancient Rome by the lower rank of citizens, meeting in assembly under the presidency of a plebeian magistrate." The word was attested earlier in a purely classical context. Related: Plebiscitary.

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Scientology (n.)

1951, system of beliefs founded by U.S. author L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986); a hybrid word coined by him. In the book "Scientology: 8-80" (1952, The Hubbard Association of Scientologists Inc.) Hubbard described his thinking in coining the word:

"Scientology" is a new word which names a new science. It is formed from the Latin word, "scio", which means KNOW, or DISTINGUISH, being related to the word "scindo", which means CLEAVE. (Thus, the idea of differentiation is strongly implied.) It is formed from the Greek word "logos", which means THE WORD or OUTWARD FORM BY WHICH THE INWARD THOUGHT IS EXPRESSED AND MADE KNOWN: also, THE INWARD THOUGHT or REASON ITSELF. Thus, SCIENTOLOGY means KNOWING ABOUT KNOWING, or SCIENCE OF KNOWLEDGE.

The elements of it are Latin scire "to know" (for which see science) and Greek logos "word, speech, statement, discourse," also "computation, account," also "reason," from PIE *log-o-, suffixed form of root *leg- (1) "to collect, gather," with derivatives meaning "to speak," on notion of "to pick out words." There was a German scientologie (A. Nordenholz, 1937). Related: Scientologist.

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scientific (adj.)

1580s, "concerned with the acquisition of accurate and systematic knowledge of principles by observation and deduction," from French scientifique, from Medieval Latin scientificus "pertaining to science," from Latin scientia "knowledge" (see science) + -ficus "making, doing," from combining form of facere "to make, to do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). The Latin word was used originally to translate Greek epistēmonikos "making knowledge" in Aristotle's "Ethics."

By 1670s as "guided by the principles of science," hence "learned, skillful;" by 1722 as "of, pertaining to, or used in science." By 1794 as "according to the rules of science."

Sciential (mid-15c., sciencial, "based on knowledge," from Latin scientialis) is the classical purists' choice for an adjective based on science. Scientic (1540s) and scient ("learned" late 15c.) also have been used. Scientistic (1878), however, is depreciative, "making pretentions to scientific method but not right."

The phrase scientific revolution for "rapid and widespread development of science" is attested from 1803; scientific method is by 1835; scientific notation is from 1961. Related: Scientifical; scientifically.

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