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Coined by English polymath William Whewell in March 1834 in an anonymous review of Mary Somerville's book On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences in the Quarterly Review as a suggested replacement for,[1] and later seriously introduced by him in 1840[2] as a more precise substitute for, the terms natural philosopher and man of science. Modeled after artist, from the Latin stem scientia (knowledge) +‎ -ist.


  • IPA(key): /ˈsaɪ.ən.tɪst/
  • (file)


scientist (plural scientists)

  1. One whose activities make use of the scientific method to answer questions regarding the measurable universe. A scientist may be involved in original research, or make use of the results of the research of others.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


  • Cebuano: sayantist, sayantis
  • Malay: saintis
  • Portuguese: cientista


See also[edit]


  1. ^
    1834, William Whewell, “On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences by Mrs. Somerville”, in John Gibson Lockhart, editor, Quarterly Review, volume 51, London: John Murray, retrieved November 2, 2017, page 59:
    There was no general term by which these gentlemen could describe themselves with reference to their pursuits. Philosophers was felt to be too wide and too lofty a term, and was very properly forbidden them by Mr. Coleridge, both in his capacity of philologer and metaphysician; savans was rather assuming, besides being French instead of English; some ingenious gentleman proposed that, by analogy with artist, they might form scientist, and added that there could be no scruple in making free with this termination when we have such words as sciolist, economist, and atheist — but this was not generally palatable []
  2. ^
    1840, William Whewell, The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences: Founded Upon Their History, Vol. 2, page 560:
    The terminations ize (rather than ise), ism, and ist, are applied to words of all origins: thus we have to pulverize, to colonize, Witticism, Heathenism, Journalist, Tobacconist. Hence we may make such words when they are wanted. As we cannot use physician for a cultivator of physics, I have called him a Physicist. We need very much a name to describe a cultivator of science in general. I should incline to call him a Scientist. Thus we might say, that as an Artist is a Musician, Painter, or Poet, a Scientist is a Mathematician, Physicist, or Naturalist.

Further reading[edit]



Borrowed from French scientiste.


scientist m (plural scientiști)

  1. scientist (advocate of scientism)