American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An apparatus consisting of two vessels connected by a tube, formerly used for distilling liquids.
- n. A device that purifies or alters by a process comparable to distillation.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A vessel formerly used in chemistry for distillation, and usually made of glass or copper. The bottom part, containing the liquor to be distilled, was called the matrass or cucurbit; the upper part, which received and condensed the volatile products, was called the head or capital, the beak of which was fitted to the neck of a receiver. The head alone was more properly the alembic. It is now superseded by the retort and worm-still.
- n. Hence Anything which works a change or transformation: as, the alembic of sorrow.
- To distil as by an alembic; obtain as by means of an alembic.
- n. An early chemical apparatus, consisting of two retorts connected by a tube, used to purify substances by distillation
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. An apparatus formerly used in distillation, usually made of glass or metal. It has mostly given place to the
retortand worm still.
- n. an obsolete kind of container used for distillation; two retorts connected by a tube
- From French alambic, from mediæval Latin alembicus, from Arabic إنْبِيق (’inbīq, "still"), from Ancient Greek ἄμβιξ (ambix, "cup, cap of a still"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English alambic, from Old French, from Medieval Latin alembicus, from Arabic al-'anbīq : al-, the + 'anbīq, still (from Greek ambix, cup). (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“They first invented and named the alembic for the purposes of distillation, analyzed the substances of the three kingdoms of nature, tried the distinction and affinities of alcalis and acids, and converted the poisonous minerals into soft and salutary medicines.”
“The word "alembic," the ancient chemical apparatus used to heat and distill, had jolted the people nearest to Steven, all the men and women on the platforms; she had felt their sudden intake of breath and the straightening of their spines, could still see it in their faces and their posture.”
“Gilbert White's phrase, forms the best "alembic" for distilling water from fog at all times of the year.”
“From Jabir we gain the word alkali, the distilling apparatus known as an alembic and – says Al-Khalili – perhaps even the word gibberish.”
“Facts transmuted in the alembic of hope into terms of faith.”
“One by one his worlds evaporated, rose beyond his vision as vapours in the hot alembic of the sun, sank for ever beneath sea-levels, themselves unreal and passing as the phantoms of a dream.”
“The meat of them has been transmuted in the alembic of”
“The mysterious human mind was the alembic then, as it is for us now.”
“And what is worse, too many of us have been patterned and prepared in the alembic of these limited views, however out of date they may be, and we find ourselves to have been marinated in the medieval soup of the mind.”
“It offered an alembic in which ideas could be shared, alchemized, and expanded upon.”
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