from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- Paracelsus Originally Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim. 1493-1541. German-Swiss alchemist and physician. He held that illness was the result of external agents attacking the body rather than imbalances within the body and advocated the use of chemicals against disease-causing agents.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- proper n. Philippus Aureolus Paracelsus (originally Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, also called Theophrastus Paracelsus and Theophrastus von Hohenheim). Born at Maria-Einsiedeln, in the Canton of Schwyz, Switzerland, Dec. 17 (or 10 Nov.), 1493: died at Salzburg, Sept. 23 (or 24), 1541. A celebrated German-Swiss physician, reformer of therapeutics, iatrochemist, and alchemist. He attended school in a small lead-mining district where his father, William Bombast von Hohenheim, was a physician and teacher of alchemy. The family originally came from Würtemberg, where the noble family of Bombastus was in possession of the ancestral castle of Hohenheim near Stuttgart until 1409. He entered the University of Basel at the age of sixteen, where he adopted the name Paracelsus, after Celsius, a noted Roman physician. But he left without a degree, first going to Wurtzburg to study under Joannes Trithemius, Abbot of Sponheim (1462-1516), a famous astrologer and alchemist, who initiated him into the mysteries of alchemy. He then spent many years in travel and intercourse with distinguished scholars, studied and practiced medicine and surgery, and at one point attended the Diet of Worms. He was appointed to the office of city physician of Basel, which also made him a lecturer on medicine at Basel about 1526, where, through the publisher Johan Frobenius he made friends with the scholar Erasmus; and there he fulminated against the medical pseudo-science of his day, and against the blind adherence to ancient medical authorities such as Hippocrates, Galen, and Avicenna, which was still the prevalent philosophy of medicine in the sixteenth century. But soon, in 1528, he was driven from the city by the medical corporations, whose methods he had severely criticized. He found refuge with friends, and traveled and practiced medicine, but could not find a publisher willing to print his books. He preached frequently the need for experimentation in medicine. He is important in the history of medicine chiefly on account of the impetus which he gave to the development of pharmaceutical chemistry. He was also the author of a visionary and theosophic system of philosophy. The first collective edition of his works appeared at Basel in 1589-91. Among the many legends concerning him is that concerning his long sword, which he obtained while serving as barber-surgeon during the Neapolitan wars. It was rumored that in the hilt of the sword he kept a familiar or small demon; some thought he carried the elixer of life in the sword. He is buried in the cemetary of the Hospital of St. Sebastian in Salzburg. For more detailed information about Paracelsus, there is a special project, the Zurich Paracelsus Project available on the Web.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. Swiss physician who introduced treatments of particular illnesses based on his observation and experience; he saw illness as having an external cause (rather than an imbalance of humors) and replaced traditional remedies with chemical remedies (1493-1541)
Sorry, no etymologies found.