Naitur, in the broadest sense, is the naitural, pheesical, or material warld or universe. "Naitur" can refer tae the phenomena o the pheesical warld, an an aa tae life in general. The study o naitur is a lairge pairt o science. Awtho humans are pairt o naitur, human activity is eften unnerstuid as a separate category frae ither naitural phenomena.
The wird naitur is derived frae the Laitin wird natura, or "essential qualities, innate disposeetion", an in auncient times, leeterally meant "birth". Natura is a Laitin translation o the Greek wird physis (φύσις), which oreeginally relatit tae the intrinsic chairacteristics that plants, ainimals, an ither featurs o the warld develop o thair awn accord. The concept o naitur as a whole, the pheesical universe, is ane o several expansions o the oreeginal notion; it began wi certain core applications o the wird φύσις bi pre-Socratic filosofers, an haes steadily gained iver syne. This uisage continued during the advent o modren scienteefic method in the last several centuries.
Within the various uises o the wird today, "naitur" eften refers tae geology an wildlife. Naitur can refer tae the general realm o leevin plants an ainimals, an in some cases tae the processes associatit wi inanimate objects–the way that pairteecular teeps o things exeest an chynge o thair awn accord, such as the wather an geology o the Yird. It is eften taken tae mean the "naitural environs" or wilderness–wild ainimals, rocks, forest, an in general thae things that hae nae been substantially altered bi human intervention, or which perseest despite human intervention. For example, manufacturt objects an human interaction generally are nae conseedert pairt o naitur, unless qualified as, for example, "human naitur" or "the whole o naitur". This mair tradeetional concept o naitural things which can still be foond the day implies a distinction atween the naitural an the airtifeecial, wi the airtifeecial bein unnerstuid as that which haes been brocht intae bein bi a human consciousness or a human mynd. Dependin on the pairteecular context, the term "naitural" micht an aa be distinguished frae the unnaitural or the supernaitural.
- Harper, Douglas. "nature". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2006-09-23.
- A uisefu tho somewhit erratically presentit accoont o the pre-Socratic uise o the concept o φύσις mey be foond in Naddaf, Gerard The Greek Concept of Nature, SUNY Press, 2006. The wird φύσις, while first uised in connection wi a plant in Homer, occurs very early in Greek filosofie, an in several senses. Generally, thir senses match rather well the current senses in which the word naitur is uosed, as confirmed bo Guthrie, W.K.C. Presocratic Tradition from Parmenides to Democritus (volume 2 o his History of Greek Philosophy), Cambridge UP, 1965.
- The first kent uise o physis wis bi Homer in reference tae the intrinsic qualities o a plant: ὣς ἄρα φωνήσας πόρε φάρμακον ἀργεϊφόντης ἐκ γαίης ἐρύσας, καί μοι φύσιν αὐτοῦ ἔδειξε. (So saying Argeiphontes [=Hermes] gae me the yerb, drawin it frae the ground, an shawed me its naitur.) Odyssey 10.302-3 (ed. A.T. Murray). (The wird is dealt wi thoroughly in Liddell an Scott's Greek Lexicon.) For later but still very early Greek uises o the term, see earlier note.
- Isaac Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687), for example, is translatit "Mathematical Principles o Naitural Filosofie", an reflects the then-current uise o the wirds "naitural filosofie", akin tae "seestematic study o naitur"
- The etymology o the wird "pheesical" shaws its uise as a synonym for "naitural" in aboot the mid-15t century: Harper, Douglas. "physical". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2006-09-20.