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#52670 - 01/13/02 11:26 PM SCI'ENCE
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 4189
Loc: Rio Grande, Cape May County, N...
A discussion on another board led me to this, and I thought it might be intriguing to look back upon, and discuss, the semantical evolution of so important a word. Musick, what say ye? And, tsuwm, whence the apostrophe?

From WEBSTER's 1828 DICTIONARY:

SCI'ENCE, n. [L. scientia, from scio, to know.]

1. In a general sense, knowledge, or certain knowledge; the comprehension or understanding of truth or facts by the mind. The science of God must be perfect.

2. In philosophy, a collection of the general principles or leading truths relating to any subject. Pure science, as the mathematics, is built on self-evident truths; but the term science is also applied to other subjects founded on generally acknowledged truths, as metaphysics; or on experiment and observation, as chimistry and natural philosophy; or even to an assemblage of the general principles of an art, as the science of agriculture; the science of navigation. Arts relate to practice, as painting and sculpture.

A principle in science is a rule in art.

3. Art derived from precepts or built on principles.

Science perfects genius.

4. Any art or species of knowledge.

No science doth make known the first principles on which it buildeth.

5. One of the seven liberal branches of knowledge, viz grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music.

[Note - Authors have not always been careful to use the terms art and science with due discrimination and precision. Music is an art as well as a science. In general, an art is that which depends on practice or performance, and science that which depends on abstract or speculative principles. The theory of music is a science; the practice of it an art.




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#52671 - 01/14/02 12:19 AM Re: SCI'ENCE
tsuwm Offline
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Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10523
Loc: this too shall pass
apostrophe?? isn't it an accent?


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#52672 - 01/14/02 12:46 AM Re: SCI'ENCE
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
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Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 4189
Loc: Rio Grande, Cape May County, N...
apostrophe/accent Hmmm...you think this particular dictionary chose to incorporate the accent in the word-listing? Though I've never seen science spelled that way, I thought perhaps it might be some archaic spelling...perhaps indicating the prefix sci- was shortened from another word originally, or an extra letter dropped...perhaps scioence? Or am I making a mountain-etymology out of an accent-molehill?


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#52673 - 01/14/02 06:13 AM Re: SCI'ENCE
Faldage Offline
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Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
I thought perhaps it might be some archaic spelling......perhaps scioence*? Or am I making a mountain-etymology out of an accent-molehill?

Yes.

*Ænigma suggests [scissor]. I take that to mean "cut it out".


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#52674 - 01/14/02 06:19 AM Re: SCI'ENCE
Jackie Offline

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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Sweet WO'N, this is great--thank you. Is this on-line somewhere, or did someone (perhaps your source from the other board) type this themselves? Though I see that you say the accent is in the word-listing, I'm wondering if there is something about the fonts that certain places allow might possibly have turned an accent into an apostrophe. Just a thought*--for all I know, it was sci'ence. Nicholas?

My first question was based on seeing the word chimistry. Did it used to be spelled that way? And I was surprised to see No science doth make known the first principles on which it buildeth. That isn't true today, is it?

*My first typing of this came out "Joust a thought"--now there could be a phrase with meaning!


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#52675 - 01/14/02 06:41 AM Re: SCI'ENCE
Bean Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 1156
Webster's dictionary is a strange beast to look things up in...it uses biblical and religious quotes as sample sentences, and at least one group seems to think that re-introduction of this dictionary in "homes, church, and school" (see http://www.face.net/Webster's_1828.html) will somehow improve the moral life of the people of the US.

Now, I don't know how widespread this view is - any loony can have a homepage on the Internet, so you can get a slightly warped view of real life if you take every internet page seriously. But it does make me wonder if I can trust the definitions in a dictionary which seems to have some sort of moral agenda - and also happens to be almost 175 years old. BTW, I'd originally found this site by accident when I was just Googling "Webster's Dictionary", trying to find a link to it that I'd lost. It certainly caught me by surprise!

Anyway, maybe it's not the greatest place to get an honest definition of the word "science", of all things.


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#52676 - 01/14/02 09:29 AM Re: SCI'ENCE
wwh Offline
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Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
I used to know name of writer who coined the word. Can somebody else remember it?

P.S. maybe it was "scientist" I was thinkin of.


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#52677 - 01/14/02 09:37 AM Re: SCI'ENCE
Faldage Offline
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Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
name of writer who coined the word

What word? Science? Coined? I thought that it, like Topsy, jus growed.


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#52678 - 01/14/02 11:26 AM Re: SCI'ENCE
tsuwm Offline
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Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10523
Loc: this too shall pass
>you think this particular dictionary chose to incorporate the accent in the word-listing?

well, we've got the whole thing online, why don't we take a look....
http://65.66.134.201/cgi-bin/webster/webster.exe?search_for_texts_web1828=pronunciation

lexicographer Sidney Landau gives us a clue to what was going on: "One modern critic, Robert Secrist... calls rather engagingly for a return to the 18th and 19th century systems, which generally avoided respelling, instead merely marking certain vowels of the entry word with diacritics to indicate the specific sounds."





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#52679 - 01/14/02 11:35 AM Re: SCI'ENCE
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 4189
Loc: Rio Grande, Cape May County, N...
the apo-accent

Okay, so I know it's an accent...but, hey, I tried!


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