• synonyms


or al·ca·hest

  1. the universal solvent sought by the alchemists.
Show More

Origin of alkahest

First recorded in 1635–45, alkahest is from the late Medieval Latin word alchahest; probably coinage of Paracelsus
Related formsal·ka·hes·tic, al·ka·hes·ti·cal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for alkahest

Historical Examples

  • The idea of the Alkahest had swept like a conflagration through the building.

    The Alkahest

    Honore de Balzac

  • It was the only moment for sixteen long years when Balthazar forgot the Alkahest.

    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'.

British Dictionary definitions for alkahest



  1. the hypothetical universal solvent sought by alchemists
Show More

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

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).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper