Alchemy - Etymology


The word alchemy may derive from the Old French alquimie, which is from the Medieval Latin alchimia, and which is in turn from the Arabic al-kimia (الكيمياء‎). This term itself is derived from the Ancient Greek chemeia (χημεία) or chemia (χημία) with the addition of the Arabic definite article al- (الـ‎). The ancient Greek word may have been derived from a version of the Egyptian name for Egypt, which was itself based on the Ancient Egyptian word kēme (hieroglyphic Khmi, black earth, as opposed to desert sand).

The word could also have originally derived from the Greek chumeia (χυμεία) meaning "mixture" and referring to pharmaceutical chemistry. With the later rise of alchemy in Alexandria, the word may have derived from Χημία, and thus became spelled as χημεία, and the original meaning forgotten. Its etymology is still open to question.

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Famous quotes containing the word etymology:

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