philosopher's stone


: an imaginary stone, substance, or chemical preparation believed to have the power of transmuting baser metals into gold and sought by alchemists
broadly : an elusive or imaginary key to success

called also philosophers' stone

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Fantastical adventures to secure the coveted philosopher's stone and restore their own bodies then ensue. Nick Romano,, 18 Sep. 2020 Yes, alchemists have tried to create the philosopher's stone. Washington Post, 18 Feb. 2018

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

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of philosopher's stone was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near philosopher's stone

Cite this Entry

“Philosopher's stone.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition

philosopher's stone

: an imaginary stone, substance, or mixture believed by alchemists to have the power to change other metals into gold
: an elusive or imaginary key to success

More from Merriam-Webster on philosopher's stone

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

What Did You Just Call Me?

  • brown chihuahua sitting on the floor with squinting eyes looking at the camera
  • Before we went to her house, Hannah told us her aunt was a flibbertigibbet.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?