Etymology of Physics
Physics, according to Dr. Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory (what? he’s a reliable source), comes from the ancient Greek word physika. According to the best character on all of T.V., physika means the science of natural things. That’s where this entire story begins—in ancient Greece.
Any good old random dictionary will tell you that physics is a branch of science that deals with energy and matter.
Physics is a term coined in the 1580s. The word comes from the Ancient Greek φυσικός, or phusikos, which means natural. Also, the Greek ta physika means natural things. Phusikos is a combination of the words phusis (φύσις) and ikos (ικός).
Phusis means nature. Ikos is a suffix that is used to form adjectives; it means pertaining to.
Physics, therefore, is the science of nature, or natural science.
Physics in Other Languages
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Murray, John. An Etymological Dictionary of Modern English. 1921.
Wedgwood, Hensleigh. A Dictionary of English Etymology, Volume 2. London, 1862.