The Word "Scientist" or its Substitute


I DO not think exception can fairly be taken to the adoption into a living language of any word that (1) contributes to convenient expression and (2) violates no rule or custom in etymology. Contemporary speech has this advantage over a dead language as a vehicle of thought, that it can be adapted to changing circumstance, whether that be effected by modifying the meaning of old vocables or by the addition of new ones. The invention of printing did much to arrest colloquial change and to standardise speech, but a useful measure of elasticity still prevails. Examples in point are the verbs “to burke” and “to boycott,” which it would be very inconvenient to discard.

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MAXWELL, H. The Word "Scientist" or its Substitute. Nature 115, 50 (1925) doi:10.1038/115050a0

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