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alchemy
medical dictionary

1. 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.

2. A mixed metal composed mainly of brass, formerly used for various utensils; hence, a trumpet. "Put to their mouths the sounding alchemy." (Milton)

3. Miraculous power of transmuting something common into something precious. "Kissing with golden face the meadows green, Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy." (Shak)

Origin: OF. Alkemie, arquemie, F. Alchimie, Ar. Al-kimia, fr. Late Gr, for, a mingling, infusion, juice, liquid, especially as extracted from plants, fr. To pour; for chemistry was originally the art of extracting the juices from plants for medicinal purposes. Cf. Sp. Alquimia, It. Alchimia. Gr. Is prob. Akin to L. Fundere to pour, Goth. Guitan, AS. Geotan, to pour, and so to E. Fuse.

(04 Mar 1998)

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