Scopes Trial

Scopes

[skohps]
noun
John Thomas, 1901–70, U.S. high-school teacher whose teaching of the Darwinian theory of evolution became a cause célèbre (Scopes Trial or Monkey Trial) in 1925.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Word Origin & History

scope
"extent," 1534, "room to act," from It. scopo "aim, purpose, object, thing aimed at, mark, target," from L. scopus, from Gk. skopos "aim, target, watcher," from PIE *spek- "to observe" (cf. Skt. spasati "sees;" Avestan spasyeiti "spies;" Gk. skopein "behold, look, consider," skeptesthai "to look at;"
L. specere "to look at;" O.H.G. spehhon "to spy," Ger. spähen "to spy"). Sense of "distance the mind can reach, extent of view" first recorded c.1600.

scope
"instrument for viewing," 1872, abstracted from telescope, microscope, etc., from Gk. skopein "to look" (see scope (1)). Earlier used as a shortening of horoscope (c.1600). The verb is recorded from 1807.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

Scopes trial definition


The trial of John Scopes, a high school teacher in Tennessee, for teaching the theory of evolution in violation of state law. The trial was held in 1925, with eminent lawyers on both sides — William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution and Clarence Darrow for the defense. Although Scopes was convicted, he was given a nominal fine, and the outcome was widely seen as a victory for Darrow.

Note: At the time, many saw the Scopes trial as a sign of deep conflict between science and religion.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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