1. the sciences involved in the study of the physical world and its phenomena
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Science \Sci"ence\, n. [F., fr. L. scientia, fr. sciens, -entis,
p. pr. of scire to know. Cf. Conscience, Conscious,
1. Knowledge; knowledge of principles and causes; ascertained
truth of facts.
If we conceive God's sight or science, before the
creation, to be extended to all and every part of
the world, seeing everything as it is, . . . his
science or sight from all eternity lays no necessity
on anything to come to pass. --Hammond.
Shakespeare's deep and accurate science in mental
2. Accumulated and established knowledge, which has been
systematized and formulated with reference to the
discovery of general truths or the operation of general
laws; knowledge classified and made available in work,
life, or the search for truth; comprehensive, profound, or
All this new science that men lere [teach].
Science is . . . a complement of cognitions, having,
in point of form, the character of logical
perfection, and in point of matter, the character of
real truth. --Sir W.
3. Especially, such knowledge when it relates to the physical
world and its phenomena, the nature, constitution, and
forces of matter, the qualities and functions of living
tissues, etc.; -- called also natural science, and
Voltaire hardly left a single corner of the field
entirely unexplored in science, poetry, history,
philosophy. --J. Morley.
4. Any branch or department of systematized knowledge
considered as a distinct field of investigation or object
of study; as, the science of astronomy, of chemistry, or
Note: The ancients reckoned seven sciences, namely, grammar,
rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, music, geometry, and
astronomy; -- the first three being included in the
Trivium, the remaining four in the Quadrivium.
Good sense, which only is the gift of Heaven,
And though no science, fairly worth the seven.
5. Art, skill, or expertness, regarded as the result of
knowledge of laws and principles.
His science, coolness, and great strength. --G. A.
Note: Science is applied or pure. Applied science is a
knowledge of facts, events, or phenomena, as explained,
accounted for, or produced, by means of powers, causes,
or laws. Pure science is the knowledge of these powers,
causes, or laws, considered apart, or as pure from all
applications. Both these terms have a similar and
special signification when applied to the science of
quantity; as, the applied and pure mathematics. Exact
science is knowledge so systematized that prediction
and verification, by measurement, experiment,
observation, etc., are possible. The mathematical and
physical sciences are called the exact sciences.
Comparative sciences, Inductive sciences. See under
Comparative, and Inductive.
Syn: Literature; art; knowledge.
Usage: Science, Literature, Art. Science is literally
knowledge, but more usually denotes a systematic and
orderly arrangement of knowledge. In a more
distinctive sense, science embraces those branches of
knowledge of which the subject-matter is either
ultimate principles, or facts as explained by
principles or laws thus arranged in natural order. The
term literature sometimes denotes all compositions not
embraced under science, but usually confined to the
belles-lettres. [See Literature.] Art is that which
depends on practice and skill in performance. "In
science, scimus ut sciamus; in art, scimus ut
producamus. And, therefore, science and art may be
said to be investigations of truth; but one, science,
inquires for the sake of knowledge; the other, art,
for the sake of production; and hence science is more
concerned with the higher truths, art with the lower;
and science never is engaged, as art is, in productive
application. And the most perfect state of science,
therefore, will be the most high and accurate inquiry;
the perfection of art will be the most apt and
efficient system of rules; art always throwing itself
into the form of rules." --Karslake.
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Natural \Nat"u*ral\ (?; 135), a. [OE. naturel, F. naturel, fr.
L. naturalis, fr. natura. See Nature.]
1. Fixed or determined by nature; pertaining to the
constitution of a thing; belonging to native character;
according to nature; essential; characteristic; innate;
not artificial, foreign, assumed, put on, or acquired; as,
the natural growth of animals or plants; the natural
motion of a gravitating body; natural strength or
disposition; the natural heat of the body; natural color.
With strong natural sense, and rare force of will.
2. Conformed to the order, laws, or actual facts, of nature;
consonant to the methods of nature; according to the
stated course of things, or in accordance with the laws
which govern events, feelings, etc.; not exceptional or
violent; legitimate; normal; regular; as, the natural
consequence of crime; a natural death; anger is a natural
response to insult.
What can be more natural than the circumstances in
the behavior of those women who had lost their
husbands on this fatal day? --Addison.
3. Having to do with existing system to things; dealing with,
or derived from, the creation, or the world of matter and
mind, as known by man; within the scope of human reason or
experience; not supernatural; as, a natural law; natural
science; history, theology.
I call that natural religion which men might know .
. . by the mere principles of reason, improved by
consideration and experience, without the help of
revelation. --Bp. Wilkins.
4. Conformed to truth or reality; as:
(a) Springing from true sentiment; not artificial or
exaggerated; -- said of action, delivery, etc.; as, a
natural gesture, tone, etc.
(b) Resembling the object imitated; true to nature;
according to the life; -- said of anything copied or
imitated; as, a portrait is natural.
5. Having the character or sentiments properly belonging to
one's position; not unnatural in feelings.
To leave his wife, to leave his babes, . . .
He wants the natural touch. --Shak.
6. Connected by the ties of consanguinity. especially,
Related by birth rather than by adoption; as, one's
natural mother. "Natural friends." --J. H. Newman.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
7. Hence: Begotten without the sanction of law; born out of
wedlock; illegitimate; bastard; as, a natural child.
8. Of or pertaining to the lower or animal nature, as
contrasted with the higher or moral powers, or that which
is spiritual; being in a state of nature; unregenerate.
The natural man receiveth not the things of the
Spirit of God. --1 Cor. ii.
9. (Math.) Belonging to, to be taken in, or referred to, some
system, in which the base is 1; -- said of certain
functions or numbers; as, natural numbers, those
commencing at 1; natural sines, cosines, etc., those taken
in arcs whose radii are 1.
(a) Produced by natural organs, as those of the human
throat, in distinction from instrumental music.
(b) Of or pertaining to a key which has neither a flat
nor a sharp for its signature, as the key of C major.
(c) Applied to an air or modulation of harmony which
moves by easy and smooth transitions, digressing but
little from the original key.
(d) Neither flat nor sharp; -- of a tone.
(e) Changed to the pitch which is neither flat nor sharp,
by appending the sign [natural]; as, A natural.
--Moore (Encyc. of Music).
[1913 Webster +PJC]
11. Existing in nature or created by the forces of nature, in
contrast to production by man; not made, manufactured, or
processed by humans; as, a natural ruby; a natural
bridge; natural fibers; a deposit of natural calcium
sulfate. Opposed to artificial, man-made,
manufactured, processed and synthetic. [WordNet
12. Hence: Not processed or refined; in the same statre as
that existing in nature; as, natural wood; natural foods.
Natural day, the space of twenty-four hours. --Chaucer.
Natural fats, Natural gas, etc. See under Fat, Gas.
Natural Harmony (Mus.), the harmony of the triad or common
Natural history, in its broadest sense, a history or
description of nature as a whole, including the sciences
of botany, Zoology, geology, mineralogy,
paleontology, chemistry, and physics. In recent
usage the term is often restricted to the sciences of
botany and Zoology collectively, and sometimes to the
science of zoology alone.
Natural law, that instinctive sense of justice and of right
and wrong, which is native in mankind, as distinguished
from specifically revealed divine law, and formulated
Natural modulation (Mus.), transition from one key to its
Natural order. (Nat. Hist.) See under order.
Natural person. (Law) See under person, n.
Natural philosophy, originally, the study of nature in
general; the natural sciences; in modern usage, that
branch of physical science, commonly called physics,
which treats of the phenomena and laws of matter and
considers those effects only which are unaccompanied by
any change of a chemical nature; -- contrasted with
mental philosophy and moral philosophy.
Natural scale (Mus.), a scale which is written without
flats or sharps.
Note: Model would be a preferable term, as less likely to
mislead, the so-called artificial scales (scales
represented by the use of flats and sharps) being
equally natural with the so-called natural scale.
Natural science, the study of objects and phenomena
existing in nature, especially biology, chemistry, physics
and their interdisciplinary related sciences; natural
history, in its broadest sense; -- used especially in
contradistinction to social science, mathematics,
philosophy, mental science or moral science.
Natural selection (Biol.), the operation of natural laws
analogous, in their operation and results, to designed
selection in breeding plants and animals, and resulting in
the survival of the fittest; the elimination over time of
species unable to compete in specific environments with
other species more adapted to survival; -- the essential
mechanism of evolution. The principle of natural selection
is neutral with respect to the mechanism by which
inheritable changes occur in organisms (most commonly
thought to be due to mutation of genes and reorganization
of genomes), but proposes that those forms which have
become so modified as to be better adapted to the existing
environment have tended to survive and leave similarly
adapted descendants, while those less perfectly adapted
have tended to die out through lack of fitness for the
environment, thus resulting in the survival of the
fittest. See Darwinism.
Natural system (Bot. & Zool.), a classification based upon
real affinities, as shown in the structure of all parts of
the organisms, and by their embryology.
It should be borne in mind that the natural system
of botany is natural only in the constitution of its
genera, tribes, orders, etc., and in its grand
Natural theology, or Natural religion, that part of
theological science which treats of those evidences of the
existence and attributes of the Supreme Being which are
exhibited in nature; -- distinguished from revealed
religion. See Quotation under Natural, a., 3.
Natural vowel, the vowel sound heard in urn, furl, sir,
her, etc.; -- so called as being uttered in the easiest
open position of the mouth organs. See Neutral vowel,
under Neutral and Guide to Pronunciation, [sect] 17.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
Syn: See Native.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: the sciences involved in the study of the physical world
and its phenomena
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:
64 Moby Thesaurus words for "natural science":
Newtonian physics, academic discipline, academic specialty,
acoustics, aerophysics, applied physics, applied science, area,
arena, art, astrophysics, basic conductor physics, biophysics,
chemical physics, concern, cryogenics, crystallography,
cytophysics, department of knowledge, discipline, domain,
electron physics, electronics, electrophysics, field,
field of inquiry, field of study, geophysics, macrophysics,
mathematical physics, mechanics, medicophysics, microphysics,
natural philosophy, nuclear physics, ology, optics, philosophy,
physic, physical chemistry, physical science, physicochemistry,
physicomathematics, physics, province, psychophysics, pure science,
radiation physics, radionics, science, social science,
solar physics, solid-state physics, specialty, sphere, statics,
stereophysics, study, technicology, technics, technology,
theoretical physics, thermodynamics, zoophysics