chemist

noun

chem·​ist ˈke-mist How to pronounce chemist (audio)
1
a
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 In the 1960s, a female chemist goes on to be a single parent, then a celebrity chef. The California Independent Booksellers Alliance, Los Angeles Times, 10 Jan. 2024 German chemist Adolf Otto Reinhold Windaus won a Nobel Prize in 1928 for showing how the body made vitamin D from sunlight. Christie Aschwanden, Scientific American, 19 Dec. 2023 Salazar has worked with a chemist to help sell natural vanilla liqueur, extract and perfume, as well as an artificial vanilla air freshener after requests from customers. Leila Miller, Los Angeles Times, 5 Feb. 2024 Her first act is to divide his men into Schools and Societies—experimental philosophers, natural philosophers, astronomers, chemists. Merve Emre, The New Yorker, 29 Jan. 2024 Introduction Yet long before this, mathematicians — just like physicists or biologists or chemists — relied on experimentation to discover and prove new phenomena. Quanta Magazine, 26 Jan. 2024 Larson plays Elizabeth Zott, a cook, mother and accomplished chemist whose goal of being respected in the scientific community is thwarted at every turn in 1950s patriarchal society. Jen Juneau, Peoplemag, 23 Jan. 2024 Israel's dominance in the medical cannabis sector can be traced back to the early 1960s and the work of Professor Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli chemist. Theara Coleman, theweek, 14 Jan. 2024 Its cause, abnormal hemoglobin, was discovered in 1949 by chemist Linus Pauling. Emily Mullin, WIRED, 19 Dec. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'chemist.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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.

First Known Use

1559, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of chemist was in 1559

Dictionary Entries Near chemist

Cite this Entry

“Chemist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chemist. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Medical Definition

chemist

noun
chem·​ist ˈkem-əst How to pronounce chemist (audio)
1
: one trained in chemistry
2
British : pharmacist

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