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Coined by English polymath William Whewell in March 1834 in an anonymous manner in the Quarterly Review as a jocular suggestion, and later seriously introduced by him in 1840 as a more precise substitute for the terms natural philosopher and 'man of science', in particular to be able to describe Mary Somerville.[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.



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  • Portuguese: cientista


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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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