Definition of alchemy in English:

alchemy

Pronunciation /ˈalkəmē/ /ˈælkəmi/

See synonyms for alchemy

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noun

  • 1The medieval forerunner of chemistry, based on the supposed transformation of matter. It was concerned particularly with attempts to convert base metals into gold or to find a universal elixir.

    ‘occult sciences, such as alchemy and astrology’
    • ‘Like astrology, knowledge of alchemy filtered into medieval Europe through Moorish centres of learning in Spain.’
    • ‘But it no more belongs in a biology class than alchemy belongs in a chemistry class, phlogiston in a physics class or the stork theory in a sex education class.’
    • ‘A further compilation of ancient texts concerning astrology, magic and alchemy was the Hermetica, written in Alexandria around 100 AD.’
    • ‘Witness their enthusiasm for UFOs as opposed to scientific cosmology, for alchemy instead of chemistry, for urban legends instead of hard news.’
    • ‘Green Magick uses more trees and plants, while Red Magick uses alchemy and astrology for its references.’
    • ‘Voodoo, science, witchcraft, animal spirits, chemistry, alchemy, fairies, physics - it's all the same.’
    • ‘His interests extended to an enthusiastic study of mathematics, the natural sciences, and studies of alchemy and natural magic.’
    • ‘Now, Gilles was a practitioner of alchemy and attempted to find the infamous philosopher's [philosophers] stone.’
    • ‘Although it had led to the discovery of alcohol and the mineral acids, historians of chemistry view alchemy in general as fraudulent.’
    • ‘Treatises on mathematics, music, astronomy, alchemy, medicine, jurisprudence, as well as studies on Athenian judicial terminology and on the topography of Athens. [5.]’
    • ‘The Goddess also figures prominently in alchemy in its concern with primal matter, the primal matrix from which all else may be transmuted.’
    • ‘In addition, the authors offer the psychology of miracles, alchemy, ESP, Nazi occultism, Gnosticism and UFOs as instruments of alternative belief in modern times.’
    • ‘Ashmole was fascinated by magic, alchemy and astrology, and befriended many astrologers regardless of political allegiance.’
    • ‘A true military intellectual, he gave expression to the ideas of the late humanists and was an enthusiastic student of the occult, alchemy, and natural magic.’
    • ‘The idea of transmutation through alchemy was one that was taken quite seriously and Dee was granted special rights far beyond someone of his standing.’
    • ‘Newton devoted long years of research to the ancient mysteries of alchemy and how base metals could be turned into gold.’
    • ‘Even doctors got their start in witchcraft - using alchemy, spiritual healing, and healing by deities.’
    • ‘This Kristo's horoscope site had some interesting stuff on it that I want to come back and check out, about dreams, astrology, alchemy, intuition and some other junk.’
    • ‘In fact, we now know that Newton was in many ways a Renaissance man, working in theology, prophecy, and alchemy, as well as mathematics, optics, and physics.’
    • ‘The symbolism is not accidental: the importance of the sun in astrology clearly parallels the exalted position of gold in alchemy.’
    chemistry
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination.
      ‘finding the person who's right for you requires a very subtle alchemy’
      • ‘But Carruth manages a rare alchemy by combining an intricate plot and technology that's both specific and vague enough to seem plausible.’
      • ‘Breaking the water into V-shaped ripples, the dories achieve a visual alchemy seen nowhere else.’
      • ‘The elements of the alchemy that turned the Kings into a postseason success story have to be in place again if they are to build on their spring fling.’
      • ‘The 43-year-old, mentored by Sir Alex Ferguson, has achieved an unlikely alchemy.’
      • ‘The very greatest pianists possess, by some alchemy which combines technique with some unknown elements, a personal sound which is easily recognizable.’
      • ‘Having fun here was a result of alchemy - mixing forced politeness with the mental game of ‘now I got you.’’
      • ‘Cash, an intensely introspective son of a mill manager, was obsessed with how the alchemy of class, race, and gender combined to forge the southern character.’
      • ‘A transaction designed to achieve that fiscal alchemy is not a trading transaction.’
      • ‘These resources have shown more resistance to time and, although the alchemy may seem difficult, its results are richer.’
      • ‘Though Berridge's approach seems casual, his results are pure alchemy.’
      • ‘So, through the process of the alchemy of our planet, the black coal is compressed into the multifaceted crystal that shines the colors of black through its [it's] prism.’
      • ‘As Shakespeare, in Julius Caesar, reminded us, the evil that men do lives after them, and, try as we might, we cannot always find the alchemy to make the painful consequences of that evil go away.’
      • ‘It is not easy to identify all the parts of the alchemy, but we definitely have a club ethos, which includes the concept that nobody is bigger than the club.’
      • ‘As she explained it, ‘The artistry of the kitchen appealed to me as much as the alchemy.’’
      • ‘Played out in the corridors of Connaught Place and Kolkata, the story captures the alienation and fragmented reality of urban life through an imaginative alchemy of text and image.’
      • ‘With Eizan, the alchemy of elegance is still alive, and in his best work, properly produced, he can cast a magic glow over the forms of the world and create lightness and grace.’
      • ‘The whole project depended on the alchemy between Eric and Chris that occurred when Eric's intensity and meticulousness sparked against Chris's charisma and need to be centrestage.’
      • ‘But it would be a mistake to dismiss this as an event of no significance involving a couple of maverick Tory MPs. For a strange alchemy has been wrought within the ranks of British conservatism.’
      • ‘Everyone who plays has gotten to that point - that's when you understand the alchemy of the game.’
      • ‘Theatre is a place of alchemy where base metal can often be turned into gold.’

Origin

Late Middle English via Old French and medieval Latin from Arabic al-kīmiyā', from al ‘the’ + kīmiyā' (from Greek khēmia, khēmeia ‘art of transmuting metals’).