Definition of alchemy in English:

alchemy

noun

  • 1[mass noun] The medieval forerunner of chemistry, concerned with the transmutation of matter, in particular with attempts to convert base metals into gold or find a universal elixir.

    ‘occult sciences, such as alchemy and astrology’
    • ‘Even doctors got their start in witchcraft - using alchemy, spiritual healing, and healing by deities.’
    • ‘Voodoo, science, witchcraft, animal spirits, chemistry, alchemy, fairies, physics - it's all the same.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Like astrology, knowledge of alchemy filtered into medieval Europe through Moorish centres of learning in Spain.’
    • ‘Witness their enthusiasm for UFOs as opposed to scientific cosmology, for alchemy instead of chemistry, for urban legends instead of hard news.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In addition, the authors offer the psychology of miracles, alchemy, ESP, Nazi occultism, Gnosticism and UFOs as instruments of alternative belief in modern times.’
    • ‘Newton devoted long years of research to the ancient mysteries of alchemy and how base metals could be turned into gold.’
    • ‘The Goddess also figures prominently in alchemy in its concern with primal matter, the primal matrix from which all else may be transmuted.’
    • ‘His interests extended to an enthusiastic study of mathematics, the natural sciences, and studies of alchemy and natural magic.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Treatises on mathematics, music, astronomy, alchemy, medicine, jurisprudence, as well as studies on Athenian judicial terminology and on the topography of Athens. [5.]’
    • ‘Although it had led to the discovery of alcohol and the mineral acids, historians of chemistry view alchemy in general as fraudulent.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Now, Gilles was a practitioner of alchemy and attempted to find the infamous philosopher's [philosophers] stone.’
    • ‘A further compilation of ancient texts concerning astrology, magic and alchemy was the Hermetica, written in Alexandria around 100 AD.’
    • ‘Ashmole was fascinated by magic, alchemy and astrology, and befriended many astrologers regardless of political allegiance.’
    • ‘Green Magick uses more trees and plants, while Red Magick uses alchemy and astrology for its references.’
    • ‘The symbolism is not accidental: the importance of the sun in astrology clearly parallels the exalted position of gold in alchemy.’
    chemistry
    magic, sorcery, witchcraft, enchantment
    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’
      • ‘Why, then, do I finally feel that the novel fails to cohere, that the novelist's alchemy does not transform all these wonderful ingredients into a golden artifact?’
      • ‘By her personal alchemy, she changed the leaden show into a golden evening of pleasure.’
      • ‘In an exceptional feat of perverse alchemy he has, during his 22 years in office, changed gold into lead and ruined a once relatively prosperous southern African state.’
      • ‘Thanks to the process of reverse alchemy performed by the previous management, it is now worth less than it would cost to sell.’
      • ‘What is striking is the creative alchemy that transforms authentic personal experiences into imaginative tales.’
      • ‘But it failed to perform the alchemy of transforming the receipt of a dividend from the company into the receipt of a capital sum from someone else.’
      • ‘The alchemy of stage and screen can transform books and introduce them to new audiences.’
      • ‘He hewed to his original self-conception with unrepentant ferocity, engaging in a type of human alchemy, changing himself into an imaginary creature who lived in place of the ordinary man.’
      • ‘I turned the photograph and looked at it, as though it might have changed through some process of mischief or alchemy.’
      • ‘By a single act of accounting alchemy, the company transformed its indebtedness into over a billion dollars of golden profit.’
      • ‘Before dozens of Scottish chairmen phone the ground's switchboard to discover the secret of this apparent alchemy, they should realise Luton will gain nothing from the day except the fee for the rent of their pitch.’
      • ‘She entered the dance field by default, she says, because ‘dance seemed like a good alchemy between movement and creation.’’
      • ‘Or does it require some sort of creative alchemy - an occurrence as rare as it is mysterious?’
      • ‘Well, we actually have a list of concerns, but for this discussion there is a key aspect of this seemingly wonderful alchemy that needs to be highlighted: derivatives.’
      • ‘At first, this may seem as magical as the fabled alchemy that could turn any substance to gold.’
      • ‘What intrigues me about the metaphor of alchemy is the importance it places on the process of transformation.’
      • ‘He uses everything from chemicals to computers to achieve his effects; but his processes really seem a kind of alchemy or magical transformation, awakening swaths of cloth to the play of the body.’
      • ‘Where he had consistently been able to pull off the magical alchemy that produced increased public spending and tax cuts, economic growth and falling interest rates, he now had to admit he had got things wrong.’
      • ‘Digestion is alchemy in reverse, with all manner of treasures ultimately being reduced to base material.’
      • ‘A small group of people's raw opinions were transformed through the organisation's alchemy into hard public-health science.’

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).

Pronunciation:

alchemy

/ˈalkɪmi/