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definition of the word alchemy

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From Old French alkemie, arquemie (French alchimie) < Mediaeval Latin alkimia < Arabic الكيمياء (al-kīmiyā’) < article al +Ancient Greek χημεία or χυμεία (chēmeia or chymeia) originally “a mingling, infusion, juice, liquid, especially as extracted from plants” and later “alchemy” < perhaps both Χημία (Chēmia), black earth (ancient name for Egypt)) and χυμός (chymos), juice, sap). (Compare Spanish alquimia and Italian alchimia).


countable and uncountable; alchemies

alchemy (countable and uncountable; plural alchemies)

  1. (obsolete, uncountable) Chemistry and in particular pharmaceutical chemistry (as practised in the Middle Ages); searching for a panacea.
  2. (uncountable) The speculative medieval philosophical art of changing objects from one element into another, principally (historically) attempting to turn lead and other base metals into gold; pseudo-science.
  3. (countable) The causing of any sort of mysterious sudden transmutation.
  4. (computing, slang, countable) Any elaborate transformation process or algorithm.

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