alkahest

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n alkahest hypothetical universal solvent once sought by alchemists
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Alkahest The fabled “universal solvent” of the alchemists; a menstruum capable of dissolving all bodies.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n alkahest The pretended universal solvent or menstruum of the alchemists. Also spelled alcahest.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Alkahest al′ka-hest the universal solvent of the alchemists.
    • ***

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
LL. alchahest, F. alcahest, a word that has an Arabic appearance, but was probably arbitrarily formed by Paracelsus
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A coinage of Paracelsus—on Arabic analogies.

Usage

In literature:

These preparations now prevented Claes from thinking, for the time being, of the Alkahest.
"The Alkahest" by Honore de Balzac
Paracelsus, a bold empiric and wild Caballist, asserted that he had discovered it, and called it his 'Alkahest'.
"The PG Edition of Chesterfield's Letters to His Son" by The Earl of Chesterfield
***

In poetry:

An alkahest, that makes gold metal
Of dross, his mind is--where one petal
Of one wild-rose will all outweigh
The piled-up facts of everyday--
Where commonplaces, there that settle,
Are changed to things of heavenly ray.
"The Poet" by Madison Julius Cawein