"distillation vessel used in old chemistry," late 14c., earlier limbeck (mid-14c.), from Old French alambic (13c.), via Old Spanish, from Arabic al-anbiq "distilling flask," via Persian, from Greek ambix "cup," a word of unknown, possibly Semitic, origin. Often spelled limbeck 15c.-17c. The al- is the Arabic definite article, "the."
updated on December 10, 2016