One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A distilling apparatus, now obsolete, consisting of a rounded, necked flask and a cap with a long beak for condensing and conveying the products to a receiver.
- ‘The condensation visible when an object is heated in an alembic was sometimes called the queen's tears.’
- ‘The peculiar inspiration of psychoanalysis was to invent a relationship which acted like a filter bed or alembic to isolate these ‘unreal’ elements in the patient's typical affective strategies.’
- ‘Its insignia was two alembics with spouts crossed against a benzene ring.’
- ‘The medium-weight, alembic distilled vodka immediately washes the palate with a lavish array of raspberry flavors that rivals the real thing.’
- ‘The ‘limbeck’ is an alembic, a piece of distilling apparatus known also to alchemists.’
Middle English: via Old French from medieval Latin alembicus, from Arabic al-'anbīq, from al- ‘the’ + 'anbīq ‘still’ (from Greek ambix, ambik- ‘cup, cap of a still’).
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