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or alcahest

[al-kuh-hest] /ˈæl kəˌhɛst/
the universal solvent sought by the alchemists.
Origin of alkahest
late Medieval Latin
First recorded in 1635-45, alkahest is from the late Medieval Latin word alchahest; probably coinage of Paracelsus
Related forms
alkahestic, alkahestical, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for alkahest
Historical Examples
  • It was the only moment for sixteen long years when Balthazar forgot the alkahest.

    The Alkahest Honore de Balzac
  • The idea of the alkahest had swept like a conflagration through the building.

    The Alkahest Honore de Balzac
  • alkahest, Alcahest, al′ka-hest, n. the universal solvent of the alchemists.

  • She must bring down the spirit of the sun and blend it with her own—for wheat partakes of the alkahest.

    Child and Country Will Levington Comfort
  • Paracelsus, a bold empiric and wild Caballist, asserted that he had discovered it, and called it his 'alkahest'.

  • These preparations now prevented Claes from thinking, for the time being, of the alkahest.

    The Alkahest Honore de Balzac
British Dictionary definitions for alkahest


the hypothetical universal solvent sought by alchemists
Word Origin
C17: apparently coined by Paracelsus on the model of Arabic words
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
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Word Origin and History for alkahest

"universal solvent sought by alchemists," 1640s, from French alcahest, from Medieval Latin alcahest, a pseudo-Arabic word coined by Paracelsus (see alchemy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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