German and Dutch have their own distinct word for "science". Whereas, in English, "science" is borrowed from Latin/French, with all Romance languages having a word that is similar to it (I.e ciencia).

  • Why do you think there would be, or should be, such a word in English? According to some studies, the majority of English words comes from French/Latin/Greek - see for instance wikipedia. Using a Romance word is arguably a very English thing to do. – oerkelens Dec 17 '17 at 12:58
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    Knowledge or wisdom – Mitch Dec 17 '17 at 13:05
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    I would say the Dutch and German word translates roughly in English to "knowing craft" or "knowing - ship". Science is translated from Latin which means knowledge. So the two actually has the same meaning. Your argument is like saying why is the word for knowledge not the same in English and Dutch/German. The answer it's a generic word which are usually unique. – dfmetro Dec 17 '17 at 14:03
  • Wissenschaften ${}{}{}{}{}{}{}$ – Guy Fsone Dec 17 '17 at 17:35
  • I know very little German but I do know that the language has chosen to avoid those technical words derived from Latin and Greek which most other European languages use, e.g. it uses 'Fernsprecher' (far-speaker) for 'telephone'. English does use such words, so the question isn't relevant to English. – Kate Bunting Dec 18 '17 at 13:15

In English? Not really. So Poul Anderson came up with worldken for science in his famous “Uncleftish Beholding” (yclept “Atomic Theory”), and worldken folk for his scientists.

Here’s just the start of it:

For most of its being, mankind did not know what things are made of, but could only guess. With the growth of worldken, we began to learn, and today we have a beholding of stuff and work that watching bears out, both in the workstead and in daily life.

The underlying kinds of stuff are the firststuffs, which link together in sundry ways to give rise to the rest. Formerly we knew of ninety-two firststuffs, from waterstuff, the lightest and barest, to ymirstuff, the heaviest. Now we have made more, such as aegirstuff and helstuff.

The firststuffs have their being as motes called unclefts. These are mightly small; one seedweight of waterstuff holds a tale of them like unto two followed by twenty-two naughts. Most unclefts link together to make what are called bulkbits. Thus, the waterstuff bulkbit bestands of two waterstuff unclefts, the sourstuff bulkbit of two sourstuff unclefts, and so on. (Some kinds, such as sunstuff, keep alone; others, such as iron, cling together in ices when in the fast standing; and there are yet more yokeways.) When unlike clefts link in a bulkbit, they make bindings. Thus, water is a binding of two waterstuff unclefts with one sourstuff uncleft, while a bulkbit of one of the forestuffs making up flesh may have a thousand thousand or more unclefts of these two firststuffs together with coalstuff and chokestuff.

At first is was thought that the uncleft was a hard thing that could be split no further; hence the name. Now we know it is made up of lesser motes. There is a heavy kernel with a forward bernstonish lading, and around it one or more light motes with backward ladings. The least uncleft is that of ordinary waterstuff. Its kernel is a lone forwardladen mote called a firstbit. Outside it is a backwardladen mote called a bernstonebit. The firstbit has a heaviness about 1840-fold that of the bernstonebit. Early worldken folk thought bernstonebits swing around the kernel like the earth around the sun, but now we understand they are more like waves or clouds.

There’s more where that came from, like this:

By shooting motes into kernels, worldken folk have shifted samesteads of one firststuff into samesteads of another. Thus did they make ymirstuff into aegirstuff and helstuff, and they have afterward gone beyond these. The heavier firststuffs are all highly lightrottish and therefore are not found in the greenworld.

It’s quite creative and all, but what we speak now is perfectly fine.

  • I totally forgot about “Uncleftish Beholding”! Thank you so much for reminding me of it! I think that’s where I first encountered yclept, and kept it as a bit of a souvenir. – Dan Bron Dec 17 '17 at 16:10

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