alchemy


alchemy
\ \ [14] Alchemy comes, via Old French alkemie and medieval Latin alchimia, from Arabic alkīmīā. Broken down into its component parts, this represents Arabic althe’ and kīmīā, a word borrowed by Arabic from Greek khēmíāalchemy’ – that is, the art of transmuting base metals into gold. (It has been suggested that khēmīā is the same word as Khēmīā, the ancient name for Egypt, on the grounds that alchemy originated in Egypt, but it seems more likely that it derives from Greek khūmósfluid’ – source of English chyme [17] – itself based on the verb kheinpour’). Modern English chemistry comes not directly from Greek khēmíā, but from alchemy, with the loss of the first syllable.
\ \ Cf.CHEMISTRY, CHYME

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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