General English

General Science

  • noun a group of water animals which all move together and keep an equal distance apart, e.g. fish or whales

Information & Library Science

  • noun a faculty, department or institution that offers specialised instruction in an academic subject
  • noun all the staff and students of an educational institution
  • noun a place or period of activity regarded as providing knowledge or experience
  • verb to train somebody in a particular skill or area of expertise in a thorough and detailed way

Origin & History of “school”

School for teaching (OE) and school of fish (14th c.) are different words. The former was borrowed into prehistoric Germanic from medieval Latin scōla, and has since evolved into German schule, Dutch school, Swedish skola, and Danish skole, as well as English school. The medieval Latin word itself goes back via classical Latin schola to Greek skholḗ. this originally denoted ‘leisure’, and only gradually developed through ‘leisure used for intellectual argument or education’ and ‘lecture’ to ‘school’ (in the sense ‘educational assembly’) and finally ‘school’ the building. The Latin word has spread throughout Europe, not just in the romance languages (French école, Italian scuola, Spanish escuela), but also into Welsh ysgol, Irish scoil, Latvian skuola, Russian shkola, polish szkola, etc. Derivatives of the Latin word in English include scholar (14th c.) and scholastic (16th c.).

School of fish was borrowed from middle Dutch schōle ‘troop, group’. This went back to a prehistoric west Germanic *skulo, which may have been derived from the base *skal-, *skel-, *skul- ‘split, divide’ (source also of English scale, scalp, shell, etc); if so, it would mean etymologically a ‘division’.