Definition of alchemy in English:

alchemy

noun

mass noun
  • 1The 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Like astrology, knowledge of alchemy filtered into medieval Europe through Moorish centres of learning in Spain.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Green Magick uses more trees and plants, while Red Magick uses alchemy and astrology for its references.’
    • ‘Newton devoted long years of research to the ancient mysteries of alchemy and how base metals could be turned into gold.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Even doctors got their start in witchcraft - using alchemy, spiritual healing, and healing by deities.’
    • ‘Now, Gilles was a practitioner of alchemy and attempted to find the infamous philosopher's [philosophers] stone.’
    • ‘Ashmole was fascinated by magic, alchemy and astrology, and befriended many astrologers regardless of political allegiance.’
    • ‘Voodoo, science, witchcraft, animal spirits, chemistry, alchemy, fairies, physics - it's all the same.’
    • ‘The symbolism is not accidental: the importance of the sun in astrology clearly parallels the exalted position of gold in alchemy.’
    • ‘The Goddess also figures prominently in alchemy in its concern with primal matter, the primal matrix from which all else may be transmuted.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A further compilation of ancient texts concerning astrology, magic and alchemy was the Hermetica, written in Alexandria around 100 AD.’
    • ‘Although it had led to the discovery of alcohol and the mineral acids, historians of chemistry view alchemy in general as fraudulent.’
    • ‘Treatises on mathematics, music, astronomy, alchemy, medicine, jurisprudence, as well as studies on Athenian judicial terminology and on the topography of Athens. [5.]’
    • ‘His interests extended to an enthusiastic study of mathematics, the natural sciences, and studies of alchemy and natural magic.’
    • ‘Witness their enthusiasm for UFOs as opposed to scientific cosmology, for alchemy instead of chemistry, for urban legends instead of hard news.’
    chemistry
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination.
      ‘finding the person who's right for you requires a very subtle alchemy’
      • ‘Or does it require some sort of creative alchemy - an occurrence as rare as it is mysterious?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Having fun here was a result of alchemy - mixing forced politeness with the mental game of ‘now I got you.’’
      • ‘A transaction designed to achieve that fiscal alchemy is not a trading transaction.’
      • ‘So, through the process of the alchemy of our planet, the black coal is compressed into the multifaceted crystal that shines the colors of black through its [it's] prism.’
      • ‘The 43-year-old, mentored by Sir Alex Ferguson, has achieved an unlikely alchemy.’
      • ‘As Shakespeare, in Julius Caesar, reminded us, the evil that men do lives after them, and, try as we might, we cannot always find the alchemy to make the painful consequences of that evil go away.’
      • ‘But it would be a mistake to dismiss this as an event of no significance involving a couple of maverick Tory MPs. For a strange alchemy has been wrought within the ranks of British conservatism.’
      • ‘Digestion is alchemy in reverse, with all manner of treasures ultimately being reduced to base material.’
      • ‘By her personal alchemy, she changed the leaden show into a golden evening of pleasure.’
      • ‘It is not easy to identify all the parts of the alchemy, but we definitely have a club ethos, which includes the concept that nobody is bigger than the club.’
      • ‘These resources have shown more resistance to time and, although the alchemy may seem difficult, its results are richer.’
      • ‘The very greatest pianists possess, by some alchemy which combines technique with some unknown elements, a personal sound which is easily recognizable.’
      • ‘What is striking is the creative alchemy that transforms authentic personal experiences into imaginative tales.’
      • ‘Theatre is a place of alchemy where base metal can often be turned into gold.’
      • ‘Though Berridge's approach seems casual, his results are pure alchemy.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Played out in the corridors of Connaught Place and Kolkata, the story captures the alienation and fragmented reality of urban life through an imaginative alchemy of text and image.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Cash, an intensely introspective son of a mill manager, was obsessed with how the alchemy of class, race, and gender combined to forge the southern character.’
      • ‘Breaking the water into V-shaped ripples, the dories achieve a visual alchemy seen nowhere else.’
      • ‘With Eizan, the alchemy of elegance is still alive, and in his best work, properly produced, he can cast a magic glow over the forms of the world and create lightness and grace.’
      • ‘I turned the photograph and looked at it, as though it might have changed through some process of mischief or alchemy.’
      • ‘As she explained it, ‘The artistry of the kitchen appealed to me as much as the alchemy.’’
      • ‘She entered the dance field by default, she says, because ‘dance seemed like a good alchemy between movement and creation.’’
      • ‘Thanks to the process of reverse alchemy performed by the previous management, it is now worth less than it would cost to sell.’
      • ‘The whole project depended on the alchemy between Eric and Chris that occurred when Eric's intensity and meticulousness sparked against Chris's charisma and need to be centrestage.’
      • ‘But Carruth manages a rare alchemy by combining an intricate plot and technology that's both specific and vague enough to seem plausible.’
      • ‘What intrigues me about the metaphor of alchemy is the importance it places on the process of transformation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A small group of people's raw opinions were transformed through the organisation's alchemy into hard public-health science.’
      • ‘By a single act of accounting alchemy, the company transformed its indebtedness into over a billion dollars of golden profit.’
      • ‘The elements of the alchemy that turned the Kings into a postseason success story have to be in place again if they are to build on their spring fling.’
      • ‘The alchemy of stage and screen can transform books and introduce them to new audiences.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘At first, this may seem as magical as the fabled alchemy that could turn any substance to gold.’
      • ‘Everyone who plays has gotten to that point - that's when you understand the alchemy of the game.’

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/