It forms all or part of: allergic; allergy; argon; boulevard; bulwark; cholinergic; demiurge; dramaturge; energy; erg (n.1) "unit of energy;" ergative; ergonomics; ergophobia; George; georgic; handiwork; irk; lethargic; lethargy; liturgy; metallurgy; organ; organelle; organic; organism; organize; orgy; surgeon; surgery; synergism; synergy; thaumaturge; work; wright; wrought; zymurgy.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek ergon "work," orgia "religious performances;" Armenian gorc "work;" Avestan vareza "work, activity;" Gothic waurkjan, Old English wyrcan "to work," Old English weorc "deed, action, something done;" Old Norse yrka "work, take effect."
in metallurgy, "impure and unfinished product of the smelting of copper or other ores," 1839, from French matte, from the adjective meaning "dull, dim" (see mat (adj.)).
a salt of hydrocyanic acid, 1826, from cyan-, used in science as a word-forming element for the carbon-nitrogen compound radical, + chemical ending -ide, on analogy of chloride. The best-known is potassium cyanide, bitter-tasting and extremely poisonous but formerly used in photography, electro-metallurgy, etc.
1650s, "mix (a metal) with mercury," a back-formation from amalgamation, or else from obsolete adjective amalgamate (1640s) from amalgam (q.v.). Originally in metallurgy; figurative transitive sense of "to unite" (races, etc.) is attested from 1802; intransitive sense "to combine, unite into one body" is from 1797. Related: Amalgamated; amalgamating. Earlier verbs were amalgam (1540s); amalgamize (1590s).
"fuel residue, solid product of the carbonization of coal,"an important substance in metallurgy, 1660s, a northern England dialect word, perhaps a variant of Middle English colke "core (of an apple), heart of an onion" (c. 1400), also "charcoal" (early 15c.), a word of uncertain origin. It seems to have cognates in Old Frisian and Middle Dutch kolk "pothole," Old English -colc, in compounds, "pit, hollow," Swedish dialectal kälk "pith." Perhaps the notion is the "core" of the coal, or "what is left in the pit after a fire."
"conventional, complacent, materialistic American businessman," 1923, from the name of the title character of Sinclair Lewis' novel (1922).
His name was George F. Babbitt. He was forty-six years old now, in April 1920, and he made nothing in particular, neither butter nor shoes nor poetry, but he was nimble in the selling of houses for more money than people could afford to pay. [Sinclair Lewis, "Babbitt," 1922]
Earlier the name was used in metallurgy (1857) in reference to a type of soft alloy (1875).
"medieval chemistry; the supposed science of transmutation of base metals into silver or gold" (involving also the quest for the universal solvent, quintessence, etc.), mid-14c., from Old French alchimie (14c.), alquemie (13c.), from Medieval Latin alkimia, from Arabic al-kimiya, from Greek khemeioa (found c.300 C.E. in a decree of Diocletian against "the old writings of the Egyptians"), all meaning "alchemy," and of uncertain origin.
Perhaps from an old name for Egypt (Khemia, literally "land of black earth," found in Plutarch), or from Greek khymatos "that which is poured out," from khein "to pour," from PIE root *gheu- "to pour" [Watkins, but Klein, citing W. Muss-Arnolt, calls this folk etymology]. The word seems to have elements of both origins.
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]
The al- is the Arabic definite article, "the." The art and the name were adopted by the Arabs from Alexandrians and entered Europe via Arabic Spain. Alchemy was the "chemistry" of the Middle Ages and early modern times, involving both occult and natural philosophy and practical chemistry and metallurgy. After c. 1600 the strictly scientific sense went with chemistry, and alchemy was left with the sense "pursuit of the transmutation of baser metals into gold, search for the universal solvent and the panacea."