Definition of alembic in English:



  • A distilling apparatus, now obsolete, consisting of a gourd-shaped container and a cap with a long beak for conveying the products to a receiver.

    • ‘The ‘limbeck’ is an alembic, a piece of distilling apparatus known also to alchemists.’
    • ‘Its insignia was two alembics with spouts crossed against a benzene ring.’
    • ‘The condensation visible when an object is heated in an alembic was sometimes called the queen's tears.’
    • ‘The medium-weight, alembic distilled vodka immediately washes the palate with a lavish array of raspberry flavors that rivals the real thing.’
    • ‘The peculiar inspiration of psychoanalysis was to invent a relationship which acted like a filter bed or alembic to isolate these ‘unreal’ elements in the patient's typical affective strategies.’


Middle English via Old French from medieval Latin alembicus, from Arabic al-'anbīq, from al- ‘the’ + 'anbīq ‘still’ (from Greek ambix, ambik- ‘cup, cap of a still’).