chemical (n.)

"a substance produced by a chemical process, a chemical agent," 1747, from chemical (adj.). Related: Chemicals.

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chemical (adj.)

1570s, "relating to chemistry, pertaining to the phenomena with which chemistry deals," from chemic "of alchemy" (a worn-down derivative of Medieval Latin alchimicus; see alchemy) + -al (1). In early use also of alchemy. Related: Chemically. Chemical warfare is attested from 1917.

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science (n.)
Origin and meaning of science

mid-14c., "state or fact of knowing; 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."

The original notion in the Latin verb probably is "to separate one thing from another, to distinguish," or else "to incise." This is 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").

OED writes that the oldest English sense of the word now is restricted to theology and philosophy. From late 14c. in English as "book-learning," also "a particular branch of knowledge or of learning, systematized knowledge regarding a particular group of objects;" also "skillfulness, cleverness; craftiness." From c. 1400 as "experiential knowledge;" also "a skill resulting from training, handicraft; a trade."

From late 14c. in the more specific sense of "collective human knowledge," especially that gained by systematic observation, experiment, and reasoning. The modern (restricted) sense of "body of regular or methodical observations or propositions concerning a particular subject or speculation" is attested by 1725; in 17c.-18c. this commonly was philosophy.

The sense of "non-arts studies" is attested from 1670s. The distinction is commonly understood as between theoretical truth (Greek epistemē) and methods for effecting practical results (tekhnē), but science sometimes is used for practical applications and art for applications of skill.

The predominant modern use, "natural and physical science," generally restricted to study of the phenomena of the material universe and its laws, is by mid-19c.

To blind (someone) with science "confuse by the use of big words or complex explanations" is attested from 1937, originally noted as a phrase from Australia and New Zealand. 

The men who founded modern science had two merits which are not necessarily found together: Immense patience in observation, and great boldness in framing hypotheses. The second of these merits had belonged to the earliest Greek philosophers; the first existed, to a considerable degree, in the later astronomers of antiquity. But no one among the ancients, except perhaps Aristarchus, possessed both merits, and no one in the Middle Ages possessed either. [Bertrand Russell, "A History of Western Philosophy," 1945] 
Science, since people must do it, is a socially embedded activity. It progresses by hunch, vision, and intuition. Much of its change through time does not record a closer approach to absolute truth, but the alteration of cultural contexts that influence it so strongly. Facts are not pure and unsullied bits of information; culture also influences what we see and how we see it. Theories, moreover, are not inexorable inductions from facts. The most creative theories are often imaginative visions imposed upon facts; the source of imagination is also strongly cultural. [Stephen Jay Gould, introduction to "The Mismeasure of Man," 1981]
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science fiction (n.)

1929 (in advertisements for "Air Wonder Stories" magazine), though there is an isolated use from 1851. See science + fiction. Earlier in same sense was scientifiction (by 1926). Abbreviated form sci-fi is by 1955. 

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pseudo-science (n.)

also pseudoscience, "a pretended or mistaken science," 1796 (the earliest reference is to alchemy), from pseudo- + science.

The term pseudo-science is hybrid, and therefore objectionable. Pseudognosy would be better etymology, but the unlearned might be apt to association with it the idea of a dog's nose, and thus, instead of taking "the eel of science by the tail," take the cur of science by the snout; so that all things considered we had better adopt the current term pseudo-sciences ["The Pseudo-Sciences," in The St. James's Magazine, January 1842]
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stoichiometry (n.)
"science of calculating the quantities of chemical elements involved in chemical reactions," 1807, from German Stöchiometrie (1792), coined by German chemist Jeremias Benjamin Richter (1762-1807) from Greek stoikheion "one of a row; shadow-line of a sundial," in plural "the elements" (from PIE *steigh- "to stride, step, rise") + -metry "a measuring of." Related: Stoichiometric.
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cyanide (n.)

a salt of hydrocyanic acid, 1826, from cyan-, used in science as a word-forming element for the carbon-nitrogen compound radical, + chemical ending -ide, on analogy of chloride. The best-known is potassium cyanide, bitter-tasting and extremely poisonous but formerly used in photography, electro-metallurgy, etc.

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photochemical (adj.)

1859, "of or pertaining to the chemical action of light," from photo- + chemical. Related: Photochemically.

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word-forming element used in science for the carbon-nitrogen compound radical, from a Latinized form of Greek kyanos "dark blue" (see cyan).

The immediate source of its use in science is French cyanogène, the name given to the compound radical by Gay-Lussac. He called it that because it first had been obtained by heating the dye pigment powder known as Prussian blue (see Prussian).

The cyanogen radical was one of the first examples of a 'compound radical' and was of importance in the development of structural chemistry during the next forty years. [Flood, "Origins of Chemical Names"]  
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guanine (n.)
1846, from guano, from which the chemical first was isolated, + chemical suffix -ine (2).
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