Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


He waged war against astrology, alchemy, witchcraft, and like impostures.

"Look in your mirror for the alchemy needed there," he bade her.

"It is not an alchemy in which myself I dabble," he said slowly.

The myth is to religion what alchemy is to chemistry or astrology is to astronomy.

There was always something fascinating to me in the old books of alchemy.

Perhaps I am wrong in implying that alchemy is an extinct folly.

Oh you think she's shabby, but you must allow for the alchemy of art.

He became a mystic philosopher and gave attention to alchemy.

No time now for alchemy; but for the horoscope, it is the veriest season.

This seems to be the only species of alchemy to which the Jesuits have said the Chinese are addicted.


mid-14c., from Old French alchimie (14c.), alquemie (13c.), from Medieval Latin alkimia, from Arabic al-kimiya, from Greek khemeioa (found c.300 C.E. in a decree of Diocletian against "the old writings of the Egyptians"), all meaning "alchemy." Perhaps from an old name for Egypt (Khemia, literally "land of black earth," found in Plutarch), or from Greek khymatos "that which is poured out," from khein "to pour," related to khymos "juice, sap" [Klein, citing W. Muss-Arnolt, calls this folk etymology]. The word seems to have elements of both origins.

The al- is the Arabic definite article, "the." The art and the name were adopted by the Arabs from Alexandrians and thence returned to Europe via Spain. Alchemy was the "chemistry" of the Middle Ages and early modern times; since c.1600 the word has been applied distinctively to the pursuit of the transmutation of baser metals into gold, which, along with the search for the universal solvent and the panacea, were the chief occupations of early chemistry.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.