Etymology
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alkali (n.)

late 14c., "soda ash," from Medieval Latin alkali, from Arabic al-qaliy "the ashes, burnt ashes" (of saltwort, which abounds in soda due to growing in alkaline soils), from qala "to roast in a pan." Later extended to similar substances, natural or manufactured. The modern chemistry sense is from 1813.

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Definitions of alkali

alkali (n.)
any of various water-soluble compounds capable of turning litmus blue and reacting with an acid to form a salt and water;
Synonyms: base
alkali (n.)
a mixture of soluble salts found in arid soils and some bodies of water; detrimental to agriculture;
From wordnet.princeton.edu