Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A medieval chemical philosophy having as its asserted aims the transmutation of base metals into gold, the discovery of the panacea, and the preparation of the elixir of longevity.
  • n. A seemingly magical power or process of transmuting: "He wondered by what alchemy it was changed, so that what sickened him one hour, maddened him with hunger the next” ( Marjorie K. Rawlings).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The ancient search for a universal panacea, and of the philosopher's stone, that eventually developed into chemistry.
  • n. The causing of any sort of mysterious sudden transmutation.
  • n. Any elaborate transformation process or algorithm.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An imaginary art which aimed to transmute the baser metals into gold, to find the panacea, or universal remedy for diseases, etc. It led the way to modern chemistry.
  • n. A mixed metal composed mainly of brass, formerly used for various utensils; hence, a trumpet.
  • n. Miraculous power of transmuting something common into something precious.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Medieval chemistry; the doctrines and processes of the early and medieval chemists; in particular, the supposed process, or the search for the process, by which it was hoped to transmute the baser metals into gold.
  • n. Any magical or mysterious power or process of transmuting or transforming.
  • n. Formerly, a mixed metal used for utensils, a modification of brass: so called because believed to have been originally formed by the art of alchemy; hence, an imitation, as alchemy was supposed to be of brass: used figuratively by Milton for a trumpet.
  • n. Formerly also spelled alchymy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a pseudoscientific forerunner of chemistry in medieval times
  • n. the way two individuals relate to each other

Etymologies

Middle English alkamie, from Old French alquemie, from Medieval Latin alchymia, from Arabic al-kīmiyā' : al-, the + kīmiyā', chemistry (from Late Greek khēmeia, khumeia, perhaps from Greek Khēmia, Egypt).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French alkemie, arquemie (French alchimie), from Medieval Latin alkimia, from Arabic الكيمياء (al-kīmiyā’), ال (al, "the") + from Ancient Greek χημεία or χυμεία (chēmeia or chymeia) originally “a mingling, infusion, juice, liquid, especially as extracted from plants” and later “alchemy”, perhaps from Χημία (Chēmia, "black earth (ancient name for Egypt)") and/or χυμός (chymos, "juice, sap"). (Compare Spanish alquimia and Italian alchimia). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • I don't like when shave gunk intimidates me like that.

    February 18, 2010

  • In a shop yesterday I found a tube of shave gunk which proclaimed:
    YOU ARE HOLDING AN ALCHEMY OF INNOVATIVE BOTANICALS.
    (yes, in capitals too)

    Hyperbole is not dead for the Captains of Lather!

    February 17, 2010

  • There is something peculiarly attractive about this word. I wonder what it is.

    July 15, 2008

  • I really like this word. In fact, I think I'm going to favorite it.

    November 21, 2007

  • Also, the field of study including the transmutation of common metals into gold, and the search for the elixir of life, among other things.

    November 20, 2007

  • interpersonal chemistry
    There is an alchemy between me and my girl friend.

    November 20, 2007