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

  • n. The hypothetical universal solvent once sought by alchemists.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. the universal solvent sought by the alchemists

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The fabled “universal solvent” of the alchemists; a menstruum capable of dissolving all bodies.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The pretended universal solvent or menstruum of the alchemists. Also spelled alcahest.

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

  • n. hypothetical universal solvent once sought by alchemists


Medieval Latin alchahest, first used by Paracelsus (1493-1541), and said to have been coined by him in imitation of Arabic words.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Probably coined by Paracelsus, as pseudo-Arabic. (Wiktionary)



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  • Of course, the logical problem with this is that if it dissolves all bodies, you can't keep it in or near anything -- if it existed, it would by definition dissolve everything around it.

    July 21, 2010

  • JM got a litre of alkahest on eBay for a very good price.

    January 9, 2010