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Coined by William Whewell in 1834 as a more precise substitute for the term natural philosopher[1]. Modeled after artist, from the Latin stem scientia (knowledge) with the suffix -ist.



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.
    • 2012 January 1, Stephen Ledoux, “Behaviorism at 100”, in American Scientist, volume 100, number 1, page 60:
      Becoming more aware of the progress that scientists have made on behavioral fronts can reduce the risk that other natural scientists will resort to mystical agential accounts when they exceed the limits of their own disciplinary training.
    • 2013 June 21, Karen McVeigh, “US rules human genes can't be patented”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 2, page 10:
      The US supreme court has ruled unanimously that natural human genes cannot be patented, a decision that scientists and civil rights campaigners said removed a major barrier to patient care and medical innovation.



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  1. ^
    1834, William Whewell, “On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences”, 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 []

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