noun, plural al·che·mies for 2, 3.
Origin of alchemy
Examples from the Web for alchemy
There is a sort of alchemy of the masala in some ways, and that journey is parallel to the emotional journey he takes.
He is also a successful author whose 2005 debut The Alchemy of Desire was published to wide acclaim.
Sarah Norris on the alchemy of being young and literary and finding your way in New York.
What will be the alchemy of Cowell, Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi, and Ellen DeGeneres this season?
Take Larry David, who recently walked into Alchemy restaurant in Edgartown following those rules closely.
Here Judith's image haunted him less persistently, here he could for a while forget all things except the secrets of alchemy.Mohawks, Volume 2 of 3|Mary Elizabeth Braddon
The poet and the scientist were brethren in the centuries of alchemy.The Art Of The Moving Picture|Vachel Lindsay
By love's alchemy we will gild each hour and day, so it will be a time of joyous hope, and life will be a continual feast-day.Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Vol. 13|Elbert Hubbard
Herbalism, alchemy, geomancy, and other magic arts owe their origin to this fountain-head of primitive superstition.The Japanese Spirit|Yoshisaburo Okakura
Heaven is very opulent; has alchemy to change the ugliest substances into beautifulest.History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. IX. (of XXI.)|Thomas Carlyle
British Dictionary definitions for alchemy
noun plural -mies
Word Origin for alchemy
Word Origin and History for alchemy
mid-14c., from Old French alchimie (14c.), alquemie (13c.), from Medieval Latin alkimia, from Arabic al-kimiya, from Greek khemeioa (found c.300 C.E. in a decree of Diocletian against "the old writings of the Egyptians"), all meaning "alchemy." Perhaps from an old name for Egypt (Khemia, literally "land of black earth," found in Plutarch), or from Greek khymatos "that which is poured out," from khein "to pour," related to khymos "juice, sap" [Klein, citing W. Muss-Arnolt, calls this folk etymology]. The word seems to have elements of both origins.
Mahn ... concludes, after an elaborate investigation, that Gr. khymeia was probably the original, being first applied to pharmaceutical chemistry, which was chiefly concerned with juices or infusions of plants; that the pursuits of the Alexandrian alchemists were a subsequent development of chemical study, and that the notoriety of these may have caused the name of the art to be popularly associated with the ancient name of Egypt. [OED]
The al- is the Arabic definite article, "the." The art and the name were adopted by the Arabs from Alexandrians and thence returned to Europe via Spain. Alchemy was the "chemistry" of the Middle Ages and early modern times; since c.1600 the word has been applied distinctively to the pursuit of the transmutation of baser metals into gold, which, along with the search for the universal solvent and the panacea, were the chief occupations of early chemistry.
Science 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.
Culture 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.