2: a power or process that changes or transforms something in a mysterious or impressive way the practitioners of financial alchemy that transformed the world of money in the 1980’s — Gordon Williams
3: a form of chemistry and speculative philosophy practiced in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and concerned principally with discovering methods for transmuting baser metals into gold and with finding a universal solvent and an elixir of life.
4: any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value.
any seemingly magical process of transforming or combining elements into something new:
5: an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting
HISTORICAL USAGE OF ALCHEMY
The prefix al-, “the,” identifies the ultimate Arabic origin of alchemy (in Arabic, al kīmiyāʾ means “the chemistry”). Kīmiyāʾ comes from Greek chēmeía, a variant of chymeía “the art of alloying metals, alchemy.”
An older, mostly speculative etymology derives chēmeía from an unrecorded Greek verb chēmeúein “to work in an Egyptian way,” from the Egyptian name for Egypt, Chēmía (Coptic Chēme, Chēmi ) “Black Land” (so called in reference to the dark earth of the Nile Valley).
A more recent etymology considers chymeía to be a native Greek word, ultimately a derivative of the noun chýma “something poured out or flowing out, a liquid, an ingot or bar,” from the verb chéein, cheîn, cheúein “to pour, pour out, gush.” The Greek word originally applied to pharmaceutical chemistry, which was mostly concerned with the mixing and infusion of plant juices; and, indeed, medieval alchemy experiments frequently involved the pouring of liquids.
Other Words from alchemy
WORDS NEARBY ALCHEMY
Definition of an alchemist
: a person who studies or practices alchemy
Alchemist: Someone Who Transforms Things for the Better
Today we recognize alchemy as a pseudoscience, and give chemistry its rightful place as a serious scientific field, but the two terms initially overlapped in meaning before separating by the 17th century, just as astrology and astronomy did during the same period.
Alchemy and alchemist are in fact older words than chemistry and chemist in English. Alchemists believed that lead could be “perfected” into gold, that diseases could be cured, and that life could be prolonged through transmutation, or a change of some essential element into a superior form. Their secretive experiments, usually involving heat and the mixing of liquids, led to the development of pharmacology and the rise of modern chemistry.