Sciency Words: Sciential

Sciency Words MATH

Today’s post is part of a special series here on Planet Pailly called Sciency Words. Every Friday, we take a look at a new and interesting scientific term to help us all expand our scientific vocabularies together. Today’s word is:


We all know that language changes over time. New words are invented. Old ones die out. For example, a few hundred years ago the adjective form of science was not scientific… it was sciential.

Think of all the things that would be different if the language hadn’t changed.

  • We’d have the sciential method instead of the scientific method.
  • Experts would quarrel over sciential evidence.
  • You could get a subscription to Sciential American

Why did the word change? Who knows? According to the Free Dictionary, the word scientific came into vogue during the 1580’s. The word sciential predated it by over a century.

Of course, if our adjective form of the word science already changed once, it could change again. I for one am looking forward to the “sciency method.”

4 thoughts on “Sciency Words: Sciential

  1. A) Sciency gets my vote. I already use it, so I’m doing my part for the movement. 🙂

    B) How do you pronounce “sciential”? “Scien-tee-all” or “Scien-chall?”

    C) Does it carry any connotations, like “Scientism” does? The difference between scientistic and scientific is a pretty useful distinction, and I could see this term filling a gap somewhere.


    1. A) Awesome.
      B) When I heard it pronounced, it was pronounced “scion-chalk.” That’s the way I’ve been pronouncing it.
      C) Since the word is essentially dead, I doubt it has any connotations in modern English. The only reason the dictionary includes it, as far as I can tell, is because it appears somewhere in “Paradise Lost.”

      P.S.: I’d never heard of the word scientism before, although after looking it up I think I have some strong feelings about it. Looks like good material for a future edition of Sciency Words.


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