You might enjoy this 1922 article that gave definitions for several terms associated with the day-to-day operation of a home. The article was written in response to a reader’s request for definitions.
We find that these terms are variously defined, sometimes they are all taken to mean pretty much the same thing, sometimes the distinctions are quite arbitrary and neither included nor connoted in the common significance of the word. We are glad to define them as they appear to us to be distinguished one from another:.
Domestic Science. The application of scientific methods of thought and work to the problems of the house, or to household problems.
Domestic Art. The application to the house, in its exterior and interior, of the artistic principles of form and color, also of materials used. Building, decorating, tinting, and furnishing are included also – but properly by no means chiefly – artistic clothing. The term is very much a misnomer when applied to work in plain sewing.
Household Economy. Following the Greek word from which “economy” is derived, this means the “running” of the entire household, with regard to division of labor, expenditure of incomes, provision of food, care in sickness, and provision of amusement and recreation. In our modern use of the term, a careful thrift is connoted.
Household Management. The direction and care of the household, as in the foregoing, but not necessarily, with any implication of thrift. The house of a millionaire can be “managed” without thought of the cost.
Household Engineering. Here we have a more mechanical ordering of the house. Both “economy” and “management” seem to us to include the human element in all its phases, as co-dwellers in the house. “Engineering” appears to consider the human element only as a means to an end, the end of the mechanical ordering of the dwelling.
Household Administration. This includes both the economy, and also the management and engineering – but, as though it were done by a ruler who sits aloft and directs the activities without either sharing them, or giving his heart to them. He does it all with brains like the administrator of an estate. At least, it sounds like that to us.
Home Economics. The new word, “home,” in this term, introduces an ethical and even spiritual element which all the others lack. It signifies economics as under definition (3), but with one whole eye on higher, rather than material values. It means running the house with common sense, but also with uncommon sense, and always subordinating the common and the uncommon. This means that the spirit of the home will be the first and chiefest, and most important thing to be considered, and will always come before the mere care of the house.
American Cookery (December, 1922)