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alembic

[uh-lem-bik]
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noun
  1. a vessel with a beaked cap or head, formerly used in distilling.
  2. anything that transforms, purifies, or refines.

Origin of alembic

1350–1400; Middle English, variant of alambic < Medieval Latin alambicus < dialectal Arabic al the anbīq still < Greek ámbix cup
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for alembic

alembic

noun
  1. an obsolete type of retort used for distillation
  2. anything that distils or purifies

Word Origin

C14: from Medieval Latin alembicum, from Arabic al-anbīq the still, from Greek ambix cup
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for alembic

n.

late 14c., from Middle French alambic (13c.), via Old Spanish, from Arabic al-anbiq "distilling flask," from Greek ambix "cup," of unknown, possibly Semitic, origin. Often spelled limbeck 15c.-17c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper