a scientist who specializes in physics.

Origin of physicist

First recorded in 1710–20; physic(s) + -ist Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for physicist

Contemporary Examples of physicist

Historical Examples of physicist

  • Maxwell's conclusions were adopted by scarcely a physicist in the world.

    The Machinery of the Universe

    Amos Emerson Dolbear

  • However, I think this is more in the line of a physicist or a biochemist.

    The Leech

    Phillips Barbee

  • Harris' manner was disarming, and the physicist felt more at ease.


    Poul William Anderson

  • "I'll try it," Cleveland answered, at a nod from the physicist.


    Edward Elmer Smith

  • You aren't enough of a physicist to oil robots in Vann Evaratt's lab!

    Ministry of Disturbance

    Henry Beam Piper

British Dictionary definitions for physicist



a person versed in or studying physics
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for physicist

1836, from physics + -ist. Coined by the Rev. William Whewell (1794-1866), English polymath, to denote a "cultivator of physics" as opposed to a physician.

As we cannot use physician for a cultivator of physics, I have called him a physicist. We need very much a name to describe a cultivator of science in general. I should incline to call him a Scientist. Thus we might say, that as an Artist is a Musician, Painter, or Poet, a Scientist is a Mathematician, Physicist, or Naturalist. [William Whewell, "The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences," London, 1840]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper