Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


the study and knowledge of the physical world and its behaviour that is based on experiments and facts that can be proved

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The noun science was borrowed from French and comes ultimately from the Latin word ‘scientia’ meaning knowledge. It was first used with the meaning we currently understand it to have at the beginning of the 17th century.


Yesterday was the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, established by the UN in 2015 and also known by the less cumbersome title of Women In Science Day. The purpose of the day is ‘to recognize the critical role women and girls play in science and technology’ and ‘to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls’. The organizers UNESCO marked the occasion by ‘calling on the international community, States and individuals to work together so that equality in the sciences and other fields can finally become a reality‘. The fact that such ambitions still need to be stated highlights the gender disparity in participation in science and technology. Figures indicate that while there is no difference in ability, less than 35 per cent of graduates in STEM subjects worldwide are women and the figure is even lower in engineering and IT.


“After all, science is essentially international.
(Marie Curie)

For whatever reason, I didn’t succumb to the stereotype that science wasn’t for girls.
(Sally Ride, first American woman in space)

Related words

climate science, earth science, life sciences, natural science, physical science

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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