Link: History of the word, 'scientist'

The Renaissance Mathematicus enlisted the historian Melinda Baldwin to write about the early history of the word, “scientist”, originally coined by William Whewell: “The history of ‘scientist’”. It’s a great story about how nineteenth-century thinkers perceived themselves.

“Scientist” became so popular in America, in fact, that many British observers began to assume that it had originated there. When Alfred Russel Wallace responded to Carrington’s 1894 survey he described “scientist” as a “very useful American term.” For most British readers, however, the popularity of the word in America was, if anything, evidence that the term was illegitimate and barbarous.

The Brits vastly preferred the term “man of science”, which had the dual advantages of referring only to men, and making it sound like some kind of aristocratic pursuit instead of a profession.