Al"che*my (?), n. [OF. alkemie,
arquemie, F. alchimie, Ar. al-kīmīa, fr.
late Gr. ?, for ?, a mingling, infusion, ? juice, liquid, especially
as extracted from plants, fr. ? to pour; for chemistry was originally the
art of extracting the juices from plants for medicinal purposes. Cf. Sp.
alquimia, It. alchimia. Gr. ? is prob. akin to L.
fundere to pour, Goth. guitan, AS. geótan, to
pour, and so to E. fuse. See Fuse, and cf. Chemistry.]
1. An imaginary art which aimed to transmute the baser
metals into gold, to find the panacea, or universal remedy for diseases,
etc. It led the way to modern chemistry.
2. A mixed metal composed mainly of brass, formerly
used for various utensils; hence, a trumpet. [Obs.]
Put to their mouths the sounding alchemy.
3. Miraculous power of transmuting something common
into something precious.
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy.