Article: The history of “scientist”
Like a lot of science words, "scientist" is made up. "Artist" was used as a model.
Dr. Melinda Baldwin runs through the history of the word. It was coined in England in1833 because people objected to what we now call "scientists" using the traditional word, "philosopher."
English scientists prefered "man of science" modeled on the respected title, "man of letters."
Americans accepted the term a lot faster.
Commentary article: ‘Scientist’: the evolving story of a word