Welcome To Science Diction

This summer, we’re examining the secret scientific origin of words.

This is a part of Science Diction, a series digging into the scientific origin stories behind our words and language. Find all our stories and previous issues here.


Science doesn’t exist in a silo. Scientists use words and language just like us. Encoded in the language they use are etymologies, histories, and stories that often stretch back centuries—some even bleeding into the words we use in our everyday life. It’s a fascinating trail we wanted to follow. That’s why we’re launching a limited run newsletter series called Science Diction.

This summer, we’ll send you a weekly email, each featuring a single word and unearthing the scientific origin story behind it. From quarks to umami to the sun, we’ll take a look at what we’re really saying when we use these words.

So, for all the word nerds and etymology enthusiasts, the logophiles and language lovers, the history buffs and story seekers, this one’s for you. Sign up here.

Calling all word nerds! Sign up for Science Diction, a weekly email about words, science, and language.

Support great science journalism!

Meet the Writer

About Johanna Mayer

Johanna Mayer is a digital producer at Science Friday. When she’s not obsessively checking SciFri’s digital pages, she’s probably baking a fruit pie. Cherry’s her specialty, but she whips up a mean rhubarb streusel as well.

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