elixir was our Word of the Day on 01/30/2012. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Examples of elixir in a Sentence
warned that casino gambling would not be an elixir for all of the region's economic woes
Recent Examples of elixir from the Web
Ever since its inception in ancient Greece, athletes have turned to elixirs, stimulants and other workarounds to gain the slightest edge over the competition.
Lea Michele's special elixir appears to be a type of kale and mushroom soup.
Awards were given in the categories of beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, cider, coffee, confections, fish, honey, oils, pantry, pickles, preserves and spirits, as well as the new category of elixirs, which encompasses bitters, shrubs and syrups.
The elixir of carbon-free growth turns out to be snake oil after all.
What was this enticing but evil elixir with the power to wreck a championship run, this paralyzing potion never to be inhaled let alone imbibed?
From elixirs to creams to alum blocks, here are the 10 best post-shaving products for your face.
Republicans hope the tax measure provides the elixir to produce a change in fortune, but there are several reasons to be skeptical.
How Brady will take this news is hard to tell, though no doubt Guerrero has a magic elixir that will cheer the QB right up.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elixir.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Alchemist: Someone Who Transforms Things for the Better
Today we recognize alchemy as a pseudoscience, and give chemistry its rightful place as a serious scientific field, but the two terms initially overlapped in meaning before separating by the 17th century, just as astrology and astronomy did during the same period.
Alchemy and alchemist are in fact older words than chemistry and chemist in English. Alchemists believed that lead could be “perfected” into gold, that diseases could be cured, and that life could be prolonged through transmutation, or a change of some essential element into a superior form. Their secretive experiments, usually involving heat and the mixing of liquids, led to the development of pharmacology and the rise of modern chemistry.
The long route to English for alchemist began with the Greek word chēmeia, which probably came from the word chyma (“fluid”), derived from the verb chein, meaning “to pour.” It then passed to Arabic, which added its definite article al- (“the”) to the Greek root. The word then passed from Latin to French before coming to English. Some other words derived from Arabic also retain the al- in English, such as algebra, algorithm, and alcohol; in fact, the transformative liquid that was constantly being sought through experimentation by alchemists is another word with the Arabic al- prefix: elixir.
This power to transform things for the better, real or imagined, led to figurative meanings for alchemy and alchemist.
Did You Know?
Elixir has roots in the practice of alchemy; it was used in the Middle Ages as the word for a substance believed able to alter base metals into gold. Its later use for a drug purported to prolong one’s life led to its use in the names of medicines of mostly questionable effectiveness. Today, it is often used generally for anything thought capable of remedying all ills or difficulties, be they physical or otherwise. The word came to us via Middle English and Medieval Latin from Arabic al-iksīr; it probably ultimately derives from a Greek word meaning "desiccative powder."
Origin and Etymology of elixir
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
ELIXIR Defined for English Language Learners
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up elixir? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).