1 a : a substance held to be capable of changing metals into gold
b : a substance held to be capable of extending life
c : cure-all
d : a medicinal concoction
2 : a sweetened usually alcoholic liquid
While the new sports complex should bring some much-needed job growth to our struggling region, we should not regard it as the elixir for all of our economic woes.
"At Frederick Douglass Blvd. and 147th St., he noticed the giant wall mural boasting of the powers of an elixir, Omega Oil." -- From an article by Sherryl Connelly, Daily News (New York), January 2, 2012
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."
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
What synonym of "elixir" begins with "p" and comes from a root that means "all" plus the Greek word "akos," meaning "remedy"? The answer is ...