Etymology
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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.

updated on February 17, 2022

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Definitions of scientific from WordNet

scientific (adj.)
of or relating to the practice of science;
scientific journals
scientific (adj.)
conforming with the principles or methods used in science;
a scientific approach
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.