Etymology
Advertisement
bain-marie (n.)

"shallow, flat vessel containing hot water in which another vessel is placed to heat its contents gently," by 1733 (in a cookery book, earlier, 1724 as the name of a meat dish cooked in one), from French bain-marie, from Medieval Latin balneum Mariae, literally "bath of Mary."

According to French sources, perhaps so called for the gentleness of its heating; others credit the name to the supposed inventor, Mary the Jewess, mentioned in early gnostic writings and looked on since 4c. C.E. as a founder of alchemy. Middle English had balne of mary (late 15c.). French bain was used by itself in English in various sense 15c.-17c.; it is from baigner "to bathe" (12c.), from Latin balneare, from balneum "bath" (see balneal).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
mercury (n.)

silver-white fluid metallic element, late 14c., from Medieval Latin mercurius, from Latin Mercurius (see Mercury). Prepared in ancient times from cinnabar, it was one of the seven metals (bodies terrestrial) known to the ancients, which were coupled in astrology and alchemy with the seven known heavenly bodies. This one probably was associated with the planet for its mobility. The others were Sun/gold, Moon/silver, Mars/iron, Saturn/lead, Jupiter/tin, Venus/copper.

The Greek name for it was hydrargyros "liquid silver," which gives the element its symbol, Hg. Compare quicksilver, which is its popular name. It has a freezing point of -39° C. The use of the word in reference to temperature or state of the atmosphere (by 1756) is from its use in thermometers and barometers.

Related entries & more 
antimony (n.)
early 15c., "black antimony, antimony sulfide" (powder, medicinally and in alchemy), from Old French antimoine and directly from Medieval Latin antimonium (11c.), of obscure origin.

Probably it is a Latinization of later Greek stimmi "powdered antimony, black antimony" (a cosmetic used to paint the eyelids), from an Arabic source (such as al 'othmud), unless the Arabic word is from the Greek and the Latin is from Arabic (which would explain the a- as the Arabic direct article al-). Probably ultimately from Egyptian stm "powdered antimony;" the substance was used there as a cosmetic from at least 3000 B.C.E. In French, by folk etymology, it became anti-moine "monk's bane."

As the name of a brittle metallic element in a pure form, it is attested in English from 1788. Its chemical symbol Sb is for Stibium, the Latin name for "black antimony," which word also was used in English for black antimony. Related: Antimonial; antimoniac.
Related entries & more 
practice (n.)

early 15c., practise, "practical aspect or application," originally especially of medicine but also alchemy, education, etc.; from Old French pratiser, from Medieval Latin practicare (see practice (v.)). It largely displaced the older word, practic, which survived in parallel into 19c. From early 15c. it began to be assimilated in spelling to nouns in -ice.

Sense of "habit, frequent or customary performance" is from c. 1500. Meaning "exercise for instruction or discipline" is from 1520s. Sense of "action, the process of accomplishing or carrying out" (opposed to speculation or theory) is from 1530s. The meaning "regular pursuit of some employment or business" is from 1570s. In 16c.-17c. it also was used in an evil sense, "conspiracy, a scheme."

Practice is sometimes erroneously used for experience, which is a much broader word. Practice is the repetition of an act : as, to become a skilled marksman by practice. Experience is, by derivation, a going clear through, and may mean action, but much oftener views the person as acted upon, taught, disciplined, by what befalls him. [Century Dictionary]
Related entries & more 
salt (n.)

Old English sealt "salt, sodium chloride, abundant substance essential to life, used as a condiment and meat preservative," from Proto-Germanic *saltom (source also of Old Saxon, Old Norse, Old Frisian, Gothic salt, Dutch zout, German Salz), from PIE root *sal- "salt."

Applied from early 14c. to various substances resembling common salt. Modern chemistry sense "compound of an acid radical with a base radical" is from 1790; as an ultimate element in alchemy from 1580s. Meaning "experienced sailor" is attested by 1840 (Dana), probably a reference to the salinity of the sea. By 1570s as "that which gives piquancy to discourse or writing or liveliness to a person's character."

Salt long was regarded as having power to repel spiritual and magical evil. Many metaphoric uses reflect that this was once a rare and important resource, such as worth one's salt "efficient, capable" (1830), salt of the earth "persons of worthiness" (Old English, after Matthew v.13). Belief that spilling salt brings bad luck is attested from 16c. To be above (or below) the salt (1590s) refers to customs of seating at a long table according to rank or honor, and placing a large salt-cellar in the middle of the dining table.

Salt-shaker is from 1882. Salt-and-pepper (adj.) "of dark and light color" is by 1915 (pepper-and-salt, 1774, was an old name for a kind of cloth made from dark and light colored wools woven together). To take something with a grain of salt "accept with a certain amount of reserve" is from 1640s, from Modern Latin cum grano salis. The notion is perhaps "modification," hence "allowance, abatement, reserve."

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
philosophy (n.)
Origin and meaning of philosophy

c. 1300, philosophie, "knowledge, learning, scholarship, scholarly works, body of knowledge," from Old French filosofie "philosophy, knowledge" (12c., Modern French philosophie) and directly from Latin philosophia, from Greek philosophia "love of knowledge, pursuit of wisdom; systematic investigation," from philo- "loving" (see philo-) + sophia "knowledge, wisdom," from sophis "wise, learned;" a word of unknown origin [Beekes]. With many spelling variants in Middle English (filozofie, phelosophie, etc.).

From mid-14c. as "the discipline of dealing in rational speculation or contemplation;" from late 14c. as "natural science," also "alchemy, occult knowledge;" in the Middle Ages the word was understood to embrace all speculative sciences. Meaning "system a person forms for conduct of life" is attested from 1771. The modern sense of "the body of highest truth, the science of the most fundamental matters" is from 1794.

Nec quicquam aliud est philosophia, si interpretari velis, praeter studium sapientiae; sapientia autem est rerum divinarum et humanarum causarumque quibus eae res continentur scientia. [Cicero, "De Officiis"]
[Philosophical problems] are, of course, not empirical problems; but they are solved through an insight into the workings of our language, and that in such a way that these workings are recognized — despite an urge to misunderstand them. The problems are solved, not through the contribution of new knowledge, rather through the arrangement of things long familiar. Philosophy is a struggle against the bewitchment (Verhexung) of our understanding by the resources of our language. [Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Philosophical Investigations," 1953]
Related entries & more 
magnesia (n.)

late 14c., in alchemy, "one of the two main ingredients of the philosopher's stone," from Medieval Latin magnesia, from Greek (he) Magnesia (lithos) "the lodestone," literally "(the) Magnesian (stone)," a mineral said to have been brought from Magnesia, the region in Thessaly, which is said to be named for the native people name Magnetes, which is of unknown origin.

The ancient word, in this sense, has evolved into magnet. But in ancient times the same word, magnes, was used of lodestone as well as of a mineral commonly used in bleaching glass (modern pyrolusite, or manganese dioxide).

In the Middle Ages there was some attempt to distinguish lodestone as magnes (masc.) and pyrolusite as magnesia (fem.). Meanwhile, in 18c., a white powder (magnesium carbonate) used as a cosmetic and toothpaste was sold in Rome as magnesia alba ("white magnesia").

It was from this last, in 1808, that Davy isolated magnesium. He wanted to call it magnium, to stay as far as possible from the confused word magnesia, but the name was adopted in the form magnesium. Meanwhile from 16c. the other name of pyrolusite had been corrupted to manganese, and when, in 1774, a new element was isolated from it, it came to be called manganese.

Magnesia in its main modern sense of "magnesium oxide" (1755) is perhaps an independent formation from Modern Latin magnes carneus "flesh-magnet" (c. 1550), so called because it adheres strongly to the lips.

Related entries & more 
spirit (n.)
Origin and meaning of spirit

mid-13c., "animating or vital principle in man and animals," from Anglo-French spirit, Old French espirit "spirit, soul" (12c., Modern French esprit) and directly from Latin spiritus "a breathing (respiration, and of the wind), breath; breath of a god," hence "inspiration; breath of life," hence "life;" also "disposition, character; high spirit, vigor, courage; pride, arrogance," related to spirare "to breathe," perhaps from PIE *(s)peis- "to blow" (source also of Old Church Slavonic pisto "to play on the flute"). But de Vaan says "Possibly an onomatopoeic formation imitating the sound of breathing. There are no direct cognates."

Meaning "supernatural immaterial creature; angel, demon; an apparition, invisible corporeal being of an airy nature" is attested from mid-14c.; from late 14c. as "a ghost" (see ghost (n.)). From c. 1500 as "a nature, character"; sense of "essential principle of something" (in a non-theological context, as in Spirit of St. Louis) is attested from 1680s, common after 1800; Spirit of '76 in reference to the qualities that sparked and sustained the American Revolution is attested by 1797 in William Cobbett's "Porcupine's Gazette and Daily Advertiser."

From late 14c. in alchemy as "volatile substance; distillate;" from c. 1500 as "substance capable of uniting the fixed and the volatile elements of the philosopher's stone." Hence spirits "volatile substance;" sense narrowed to "strong alcoholic liquor" by 1670s. This also is the sense in spirit level (1768). Also from mid-14c. as "character, disposition; way of thinking and feeling, state of mind; source of a human desire;" in Middle English freedom of spirit meant "freedom of choice." From late 14c. as "divine substance, divine mind, God;" also "Christ" or His divine nature; "the Holy Ghost; divine power;" also, "extension of divine power to man; inspiration, a charismatic state; charismatic power, especially of prophecy." Also "essential nature, essential quality." From 1580s in metaphoric sense "animation, vitality."

According to Barnhart and OED, originally in English mainly from passages in Vulgate, where the Latin word translates Greek pneuma and Hebrew ruah. Distinction between "soul" and "spirit" (as "seat of emotions") became current in Christian terminology (such as Greek psykhe vs. pneuma, Latin anima vs. spiritus) but "is without significance for earlier periods" [Buck]. Latin spiritus, usually in classical Latin "breath," replaces animus in the sense "spirit" in the imperial period and appears in Christian writings as the usual equivalent of Greek pneuma. Spirit-rapping is from 1852.

Related entries & more 

Page 4