noun, plural al·che·mies for 2, 3.
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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
Words nearby alchemy
Example sentences from the Web for alchemy
Add invisibility, then, to the feats of optical alchemy that may be made possible by tracking control.
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
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.