Origin of alchemy
historical usage of alchemy
An older, mostly speculative etymology derives chēmeía from an unrecorded Greek verb chēmeúein “to work in an Egyptian way,” from the Egyptian name for Egypt, Chēmía (Coptic Chēme, Chēmi ) “Black Land” (so called in reference to the dark earth of the Nile Valley).
A more recent etymology considers chymeía to be a native Greek word, ultimately a derivative of the noun chýma “something poured out or flowing out, a liquid, an ingot or bar,” from the verb chéein, cheîn, cheúein “to pour, pour out, gush.” The Greek word originally applied to pharmaceutical chemistry, which was mostly concerned with the mixing and infusion of plant juices; and, indeed, medieval alchemy experiments frequently involved the pouring of liquids.
OTHER WORDS FROM alchemyal·chem·ic [al-kem-ik], /ælˈkɛm ɪk/, al·chem·i·cal, al·che·mis·tic [al-kuh-mis-tik], /ˌæl kəˈmɪs tɪk/, al·che·mis·ti·cal, adjectiveal·chem·i·cal·ly, adverb
How to use alchemy in a sentence
Alchemical songs that achieve pop universality through personal specificity.Remembering Weezer’s ‘The Blue Album,’ A Garage Rock Classic, on Its 20th Anniversary|Andrew Romano|May 10, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Conservatives on Twitter howl derisively at these polls as if their purveyors are offering alchemical cures for venereal disease.Michael Tomasky on the Coming Post-Election GOP Freak Out|Michael Tomasky|November 4, 2012|DAILY BEAST
The Garden of Cyrus, with its arcane explorations of botany and geometry, may as well be an alchemical treatise or a grimoire.Halloween Read: Thomas Browne’s Eerie Premonition of His Burial|Stefan Beck|October 30, 2012|DAILY BEAST
Positive thoughts for yourself and others have a near alchemical transformative effect on your being.Zodiac Beast: April 17-24|Starsky + Cox|April 16, 2011|DAILY BEAST
In pursuing his alchemical researches, he discovered Prussian blue, and the animal oil which bears his name.The Every Day Book of History and Chronology|Joel Munsell
To behold “Diana unveiled” was equivalent in alchemical terminology to attaining the magnum opus.Devil-Worship in France|Arthur Edward Waite
That on the Continent it had descended through the Rosicrucians in an alchemical form seems more than probable.Secret Societies And Subversive Movements|Nesta H. Webster
Djafar may thus be considered as having solved the grand alchemical problem of obtaining gold in a potable state.History of the Intellectual Development of Europe, Volume I (of 2)|John William Draper
Moreover, no fact known respecting the pyramids or their builders is inconsistent with the astrological (and alchemical) theory.Myths and Marvels of Astronomy|Richard A. Proctor
British Dictionary definitions for alchemy
Derived forms of alchemyalchemic (ælˈkɛmɪk), alchemical or alchemistic, adjective
Word Origin for alchemy
Scientific definitions for alchemy
A Closer Look
Because their goals were so unrealistic, and because they had so little success in achieving them, the practitioners of alchemy in the Middle Ages got a reputation as fakers and con artists. But this reputation is not fully deserved. While they never succeeded in turning lead into gold (one of their main goals), they did make discoveries that helped to shape modern chemistry. Alchemists invented early forms of some of the laboratory equipment used today, including beakers, crucibles, filters, and stirring rods. They also discovered and purified a number of chemical elements, including mercury, sulfur, and arsenic. And the methods they developed to separate mixtures and purify compounds by distillation and extraction are still important.
Cultural definitions for alchemy
A science (no longer practiced) that sought to transform one chemical element into another through a combination of magic and primitive chemistry. Alchemy is considered to be the ancestor of modern chemistry.