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scientia (plural scientias)

  1. science, knowledge

Related terms[edit]



From sciēns, scientem (knowing, aware; having expertise) +‎ -ia (abstract noun suffix). Attested from Varro onwards (early 1st century BCE).


  • (Classical) IPA(key): /skiˈen.ti.a/ invalid IPA characters (), [s̠kiˈɛn̪t̪iä] invalid IPA characters ()
  • (modern Italianate Ecclesiastical) IPA(key): /ʃiˈen.t͡si.a/ invalid IPA characters (), [ʃiˈɛnt̪͡s̪iä] invalid IPA characters ()
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scientia f (genitive scientiae); first declension

  1. (abstract):
    1. knowledge, awareness, cognizance (the state of knowing a fact or situation)
      Synonyms: cognitiō, sapientia, nōtitia
      Antonym: ignōrantia
    2. learning, learnedness, erudition (the state of having an extensive knowledge)
      Synonyms: ēruditiō, sapientia
    3. expert understanding of a skill, art, science etc. (also as opposed to practice)
      Synonyms: intellēctus, ars
      Antonyms: ūsus, experientia, exercitātiō
  2. (concrete):
    1. (philosophy) that which is known (as opposed to a mere belief, translating Ancient Greek ἐπιστήμη (epistḗmē))
      Antonyms: opīniō, suspiciō, coniectūra
      • 1597, Sir Francis Bacon, Meditationes Sacrae:
        Nam et ipsa scientia potestās est.
        After all, knowledge itself is power.
      1. (Medieval Latin, logic) knowledge (as distinguished according to the direction: from cause to effect or vice versa, corr. to Ancient Greek διότι (dióti) vs. ὅτι (hóti))
        scientia propter quida knowledge derived from cause to effect
        scientia quiaa knowledge derived from effect to cause
        • William of Ockham, Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard I.89:
          plūs differunt scientia adquīsīta per dēmōnstrātiōnem et scientia adquīsīta per experientiam, quam scientia quia et scientia propter quid
          there's a greater difference between knowledge acquired through logical proof and knowledge acquired through practical experience, than between knowledge from effect and knowledge from cause
    2. the knowledge, lore, scholarship of a particular discipline
      Synonyms: doctrīna, ars
      scientia speculātīva (Medieval Latin)theoretical knowledge
    3. the know-how, skill, expertise (applied knowledge)
      Synonyms: perītia, ars
      scientia practica (Medieval Latin)practical knowledge
    4. (Medieval Latin) a science (an organized branch of methodically-acquired knowledge with a unified subject-matter)
      Synonym: disciplīna
      Hyponyms: historia nātūrālis, philosophia nātūrālis, physica (all "natural science")


First-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative scientia scientiae
Genitive scientiae scientiārum
Dative scientiae scientiīs
Accusative scientiam scientiās
Ablative scientiā scientiīs
Vocative scientia scientiae


Note: all descendants have been influenced by the Latin (and/or French) in meaning, and several also in form.



  1. nominative/accusative/vocative neuter plural of sciēns


Further reading[edit]

  • scientia”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • scientia”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • scientia in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
  • scientia in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette
  • Carl Meißner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[2], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • to possess literary knowledge: litterarum scientiam (only in sing.) habere
    • to acquire knowledge of a subject: scientiam alicuius rei consequi
    • (ambiguous) to acquire knowledge of a subject: scientia comprehendere aliquid
    • (ambiguous) to enrich a person's knowledge: scientia augere aliquem
    • (ambiguous) logic, dialectic: dialectica (-ae or -orum) (pure Latin disserendi ratio et scientia)
    • (ambiguous) geographical knowledge: regionum terrestrium aut maritimarum scientia