Advertisement
46 entries found.
Search filter: All Results 
alcohol (n.)

1540s (early 15c. as alcofol), "fine powder produced by sublimation," from Medieval Latin alcohol "powdered ore of antimony," from Arabic al-kuhul "kohl," the fine metallic powder used to darken the eyelids, from kahala "to stain, paint." The al- is the Arabic definite article, "the."

Paracelsus (1493-1541) used the word to refer to a fine powder but also a volatile liquid. By 1670s it was being used in English for "any sublimated substance, the pure spirit of anything," including liquids.

The sense of "intoxicating ingredient in strong liquor" is attested by 1753, short for alcohol of wine, which then was extended to "the intoxicating element in fermented liquors." The formerly preferred terms for the substance were rectified spirits or brandy.

In organic chemistry, the word was extended by 1808 to the class of compounds of the same type as this (a 1790 translation of Lavoisier's "Elements of Chemistry" has alkoholic gas for "the combination of alkohol with caloric").

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
gasohol (n.)
gasoline and ethanol mixture, 1975, from gasoline + (ethyl) alcohol.
Related entries & more 
-ol 
word-forming element in chemistry, variously representing alcohol, phenol, or in some cases Latin oleum "oil" (see oil (n.)).
Related entries & more 
kohl (n.)
"powder used to darken the eyelids, etc.," properly of finely ground antimony, 1799, from Arabic kuhl (see alcohol).
Related entries & more 
chloral (n.)

"colorless liquid formed by the action of chlorine on alcohol," apparently coined by German chemist Justus von Liebig in 1833 from elements from chlorine + alcohol. Later chiefly in chloral hydrate (1874).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
alcoholism (n.)

"disease of alcohol addiction," by 1882, from alcohol + -ism, or else from Modern Latin alcoholismus, coined in 1852 by Swedish professor of medicine Magnus Huss to mean what we now would call "alcohol poisoning, effects of excessive ingestion of alcohol." In earlier times, alcohol addiction would have been called habitual drunkenness or some such term.

Related entries & more 
alcoholic (adj.)
1790, "of or pertaining to alcohol;" see alcohol + -ic. Meaning "caused by drunkenness" is attested by 1872; meaning "habitually drunk" by 1910. Noun sense of "one who is addicted to drinking in excess, chronic drunkard, old rounder" is recorded from 1891; an earlier term for one was alcoholist (1877 in clinical writing, earlier in temperance literature this word simply meant "a drinker of alcohol"). Alcoholics Anonymous founded 1935 in Akron, Ohio, U.S.
Related entries & more 
al- 
in words from Arabic (or assumed to be), it is the definite article "the." Sometimes rendered in English as el-. Often assimilated to following consonants (as-, az-, ar-, am-, an-, etc.). Examples include almanac, alchemy, alcohol, algebra.
Related entries & more 
ethanol (n.)
"ethyl alcohol," 1900, contracted from ethane, to which it is the corresponding alcohol, + -ol, here indicating alcohol.
Related entries & more 
aldehyde (n.)

first oxidation product of alcohol, 1833, discovered in 1774 by German-born Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele, the name said to have been coined by German chemist Justus von Liebig from abbreviation of Modern Latin alcohol dehydrogenatum "dehydrogenated alcohol." Related: Aldehydic.

Related entries & more