alchemy


alchemy
alchemy (n.) mid-14c., from O.Fr. alchimie (14c.), alquemie (13c.), from M.L. alkimia, from Arabic al-kimiya, from Gk. 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, lit. "land of black earth," found in Plutarch), or from Gk. 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.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ALCHEMY — ALCHEMY, ancient art that was the origin of chemistry. The Jewish association with alchemy dates from ancient times. Zosimos, a fifth century Greek historian, states that the Jews acquired the secrets of the sacred craft of the Egyptians and the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Alchemy — • The art of transmuting baser metals into gold and silver Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Alchemy     Alchemy     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Alchemy — Produzenten: AMD RMI Befehlssatz: MIPS Mikroarchitektur: MIPS Alchemy ist eine Mikroprozessor Familie der Firma …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alchemy B & B — (Dawson City,Канада) Категория отеля: Адрес: 878 3rd Avenue, Y0B 1G0 Dawson City, Кан …   Каталог отелей

  • Alchemy — Al che*my, n. [OF. alkemie, arquemie, F. alchimie, Ar. al k[=i]m[=i]a, fr. late Gr. ?, for ?, a mingling, infusion, ? juice, liquid, especially as extracted from plants, fr. ? to pour; for chemistry was originally the art of extracting the juices …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Alchemy- — (album d Yngwie Malmsteen) Alchemy est sorti le 17 septembre 1999. C est le onzième disque du guitariste Yngwie Malmsteen. Yngwie Malmsteen Guitare Basse. Mark Boals chant. Mats Olausson claviers. Barry Dunaway Basse. John Macaluso batterie Track …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Alchemy — Alchemy  семейство микропроцессоров с низким энергопотреблением основанных на архитектуре MIPS. Alchemy  свободный векторый графический редактор под лицензией GNU GPL находящийся в стадии разработки. Alchemy  компилятор C/C++ в… …   Википедия

  • Alchemy X — 200px Datos generales Origen Nueva Jersey,Estados Unidos …   Wikipedia Español

  • alchemy — *magic, thaumaturgy, wizardry, sorcery, witch ery, witchcraft …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • alchemy — [n] medieval science black arts, black magic, hermetics, magic, pseudo science, sorcery, thaumaturgy, witchcraft, wizardry; concepts 367,370,689 …   New thesaurus


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.