alchemy (n.)

“中世纪的化学; 所谓的将贱金属转化为银或金的科学” (还涉及对通用溶剂, 精髓等的追求), 14世纪中期, 来自古法语 alchimie (14世纪), alquemie (13世纪), 来自中世纪拉丁语 alkimia, 来自阿拉伯语 al-kimiya, 来自希腊语 khemeioa (发现于公元前4世纪戴克里先反对“埃及人的旧著作” 的法令中), 都是“炼金术” 的意思, 起源不明.

也许来自埃及的一个古老的名字(Khemia, 字面意思是“黑土之地”, 见于普鲁塔克), 或者来自希腊文 khymatos “那是倒出来的”, 来自 khein “倒”, 来自PIE根 *gheu- “倒” [Watkins, 但Klein引用W. Muss-Arnolt, 称之为民间词源]. 这个词似乎有两个起源的元素.

Mahn. .. concludes, after an elaborate investigation, that Gr. khymeia was probably the original, being first applied to pharmaceutical chemistry, which was chiefly concerned with juices or infusions of plants; that the pursuits of the Alexandrian alchemists were a subsequent development of chemical study, and that the notoriety of these may have caused the name of the art to be popularly associated with the ancient name of Egypt. [OED]

al- 是阿拉伯语定冠词“the”. 艺术和名称是阿拉伯人从亚历山大人那里采用的, 经阿拉伯西班牙进入欧洲. 炼金术是中世纪和近代早期的“化学”, 既涉及神秘学和自然哲学, 又涉及实用化学和冶金学. 17世纪以后, 严格的科学意义随 chemistry, alchemy, 剩下的意义是“追求玄色金属向黄金的嬗变, 寻找万能溶剂和灵丹妙药”.

Origin and meaning of alchemy

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Definitions of alchemy from WordNet

alchemy (n.)
the way two individuals relate to each other;
a mysterious alchemy brought them together
Synonyms: chemistry / interpersonal chemistry
alchemy (n.)
a pseudoscientific forerunner of chemistry in medieval times;