chem·​ist | \ ˈke-mist How to pronounce chemist (audio) \

Definition of chemist

1a obsolete : alchemist
b : one trained in chemistry
2 British : pharmacist

Examples of chemist in a Sentence

let's ask the chemist whether it's safe to take these two drugs together
Recent Examples on the Web Davey Smith, Thomas, and their chemist colleague Richard Evershed organized that evidence into an enormous database. Haley Weiss, The Atlantic, 27 July 2022 Inspired by her mother's work as a physician and chemist, as well as the opportunity to expand the clean haircare space in beauty, Twine launched Briogeo in 2013. Tiffany Dodson, Harper's BAZAAR, 25 July 2022 University of Sydney chemist Richard Payne is particularly excited about their ability to treat tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Stephanie Stone, Scientific American, 23 July 2022 Mark Scialdone — an organic chemist who patented the process to make a form of HHC called HHCA — notes that there could be unforeseen consequences from ingesting a molecule that hasn’t gone through human testing. Elisabeth Garber-paul, Rolling Stone, 10 July 2022 Brown entrusted one of the larger pieces of that effort to a dozen interviewers in Virginia, under the leadership of a bespectacled chemist named Roscoe Lewis. David A. Taylor, Washington Post, 19 July 2022 The former Jeanne Marguerite Thomas, daughter of James Bosley Thomas, a Davison Chemical Co. chemist, and Marguerite Wilson Maas, a concert pianist, was born in Baltimore, one of six children, and raised on Stoney Run Lane in Roland Park. Frederick N. Rasmussen, Baltimore Sun, 13 July 2022 Local media reported a separate incident on June 21 in which a chemist was stabbed to death in the western state of Maharashtra for allegedly supporting the remarks made by Sharma on social media. Reuters, CNN, 4 July 2022 That said, cosmetic chemist Laura Lam-Phaure doesn't believe there is reason for alarm. Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, 17 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chemist.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of chemist

1559, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for chemist

earlier chymist, chimist, borrowed from Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French chimiste, borrowed from Medieval Latin chymista, chimista, short for alchemista, alkimista alchemist

Note: As with other words that ultimately descend from alchemy, the e has been restored after Late Greek chēmeîa. Prior to ca. 1700 the words chymist and alchymist, chymistry and alchymy, with much variation in form and spelling, were either synonymous or distinguished in ways not in accord with the current distinction; the same applies to equivalent words in other European languages, as French chymie (later chimie) and alchymie. Though the authors of seventeenth-century treatises on alchemy/chemistry realized that the al- of alchemy was of Arabic origin, its significance was often not correctly understood. The French pharmacist Nicolas Lemery (1645-1715), in the first edition of his Cours de chymie (Paris, 1675, p. 2) notes the following about the word: "Chymistes have added the Arabic particle al to the word chymie, when they have wished to express that which is the most sublime [part of chymie], such as that which teaches the transmutation of metals, although alchymie signifies nothing other than chymie." ("Les chymistes ont ajouté la Particle Arabe Al, au mot de Chymie, quand ils ont voulu exprimé la plus sublime, comme celle qui enseigne la Transmutation des Metaux, quoy qu'Alchemie ne signifie autre chose que la Chymie.") This false etymologizing contributed to the later semantic separation of the two words. In a later edition of the same work (1675, pp. 60-61), Lemery took a much more negative position toward the transmutation of metals: "Thus to work at making gold is to work in shadows, and I find that alchymie has been defined very well [as follows]: Ars sine arte, cuius principium mentiri, medium laborare, & finis mendicare, an Art without art, whose beginning is lying, whose middle is labor, and whose end is beggary." ("Ainsi c'est proprement travailler en tenebres, que de travailler à faire de l'or, & je trouve qu'on a fort bien défini l'Alchymie, Ars sine arte, cuius principium mentiri, medium laborare, & finis mendicare.") This incipient limitation of alchymie to the transmutation of metals is taken up by later authors, as the English encyclopedist John Harris (ca. 1666-1719). In his Lexicon Technicum (1704), under the entry alchymist, Harris cites nearly verbatim Lemery's demeaning comments on alchymie, while chymistry is treated more neutrally: "chymistry is variously defined, but the design of the Art is to separate usefully the Purer Parts of any mix'd body from the more gross and impure." In the influental Encyclopédie of Denis Diderot and contributors the separation between alchemy and chemistry is even clearer: "Chemistry is a science that is concerned with the separation and union of the principles making up bodies, whether operated upon by nature or by art, with the view of discovering the characteristics of these bodies, or of making them suitable for various uses." ("La Chimie est une science qui s'occupe des séparations & des unions des principes constituans des corps, soit opérées par la nature, soit opérées par l'art, dans la vûe de découvrir les qualités de ces corps, ou de les rendre propres à divers usages" - vol. 3, 1753, p. 417; the chimie article written by Gabriel-François Venel.) Alchemy, on the other hand, is characterized as essentially "the art of transmuting metals" ("l'art de transmuer les métaux," p. 425). For a detailed discussion, see William R. Newman and Lawrence M. Principe, "Alchemy vs. Chemistry: the Etymological Origins of a Historiographic Mistake," Early Science and Medicine, vol. 3, no. 1 (1998), pp. 32-65. The authors advocate using the term chymistry to describe alchemy/chemistry as it was practiced in the early modern period.

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The first known use of chemist was in 1559

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Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Chemist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for chemist


chem·​ist | \ ˈke-mist How to pronounce chemist (audio) \

Kids Definition of chemist

: a person trained or engaged in chemistry


chem·​ist | \ ˈkem-əst How to pronounce chemist (audio) \

Medical Definition of chemist

1 : one trained in chemistry
2 British : pharmacist

More from Merriam-Webster on chemist

Nglish: Translation of chemist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chemist for Arabic Speakers


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