Alchemist Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

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An ancient practice that’s shrouded in mystery, alchemy is the process of taking something ordinary and transforming it into something extraordinary. Alchemy is seen in a magical way, such as an artist can turn a mound of scrap metal into a beautiful piece of art. That said, what exactly is an alchemist?

In this post, we’re exploring the world of alchemy to uncover the definition of an alchemist and more. Are you ready?

Let’s dive in!

What Is the Definition of Alchemist?

/ˈæl.kə.mɪst/ /ˈæl.kə.mɪst/

According to the Collins English Dictionary, an alchemist was a scientist in the Middle Ages who tried to discover how to alter ordinary metals into gold. Today, the word alchemist typically refers to a person who is well versed in or practices alchemy.

What Is Alchemy?

Rooted in a complex spiritual worldview, alchemy is a form of speculative thought or philosophy that aims to achieve the transmutation of base metals into gold as well as the discovery of a universal cure for all diseases and a potion that gives eternal youth. 

What Is the Etymology of Alchemist?

Believe it or not, the art of alchemy was handed down over a number of centuries from Arabia and Egypt to Rome and Greece, and finally to Western and Central Europe. 

That said, the word alchemy comes from the Ancient Greek word khemeia and Arabic al-kīmiyā (meaning “art of transmuting metals”). 

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Alchemist?

Now that you understand what the word alchemist means, let’s draw our attention to its synonyms and antonyms. A synonym is a word that has the same or nearly the same meaning as another word, whereas an antonym is a word that means the opposite of another word. 

Below you will find synonyms and antonyms provided by Your Dictionary

Synonyms of alchemist include:

  • Alchemical
  • Transmutation 
  • Warlock 
  • Faith healer
  • Diviner 
  • Enchanter
  • Obeah doctor 
  • Magician
  • Necromancer
  • Shaman 
  • Black magician 
  • Scholar 
  • Medicine man
  • Sorceress
  • Experimenter
  • Pseudoscientist 
  • Field researcher 
  • Analyst
  • Witchdoctor 

Antonyms of alchemist include: 

  • Bird brain
  • Blockhead
  • Bone head
  • Cretin
  • Dimwit
  • Dolt
  • Dork
  • Dummy
  • Dunce
  • Fool
  • Idiot
  • Lamebrain
  • Amateur 
  • Rookie 

Famous Alchemists Throughout History

When most people think of an alchemist, they tend to conjure up images of an old, haggard man, possibly a wizard stirring a boiling cauldron, but the truth is that this is really nothing more than just a stereotype. Alchemy was actually the study of chemistry from the third century BC through the next 2000 years. 

In fact, some of the best and brightest alchemists are people that you may even be familiar with:

  • Ge Hong: 283-343 AD — credited with indirectly creating the foundation for gunpowder 
  • Zosimos of Panopolis: Late third century AD — this Egyptian alchemist was also the author of “Cheirokmeta’
  • Jean Baptista Van Helmont: 1580-1644 — carbon dioxide 
  • Maria the Jewess: Between the first and third century — Kerotakis, the tribikos, and the bain-marie
  • Paracelsus: 1493-1541 — credited with discovering a tincture of opium as well as laudanum
  • Johann Friedrich Bottger: 1682-1719 — discovered China’s long-kept secret recipe for “White Gold,” European porcelain
  • Hennig Brand:1630-1710 — like many alchemists of his town, German alchemist Hennig Brand utilized human urine in his experiments. 

How Can You Use Alchemist in a Sentence?

If you’re an alchemist, you have a passion for turning common metals into gold. You probably have razor-sharp instincts. You potentially see a world bound together with pleasure and passion. With this in mind, here are some example sentences that properly use the word alchemist:

“My dad has been an alchemist for the last 20 years and finally made a breakthrough.”

“The substance that is thought to be capable of turning metals into gold is called the philosopher’s stone.”

“Did you know that Sir Issac Newton was an Alchemist?!”

“Apparently, many of the Ancient Egyptians were alchemists.”

“Alchemy classes are trending in New York — I am thinking about checking it out.”

“I am a practitioner of alchemy — in other words; I’m an alchemist.”

“The alchemist worked through the night mixing potions.”

“It was believed back in the medieval times that an alchemist could change lead into gold through magic.”

“As an alchemist, I love spending my days mixing potions and testing elixirs.”

“If you just started watching anime, I highly recommend Fullmetal Alchemist.”

“Despite what you might think, an alchemist can’t magically transform one metal into another, but they can turn a material like wood into a finished product such as a rocking chair.”

“Some say alchemy is nothing but pseudoscience, but as an alchemist, I say it’s chemistry.’

What Are Translations of Alchemist?

Seeing as the word alchemist has been in circulation for a number of centuries, it’s no surprise that there are many ways to say it. Some of the most common translations of alchemist are as follows:

  • Chinese (Traditional) — 煉金師
  • Spanish — Alquimista
  • Czech — alchymista
  • Chinese (Simplified) — 炼金师
  • Portuguese — alquimista
  • French — alchimiste
  • Vietnamese — nhà giả kim
  • Danish — alkemist
  • German — der Alchemist
  • Indonesian — ahli alkimia
  • Thai — นักเล่นแร่แปรธาตุ
  • Italian — alchimista
  • Ukrainian — алхімік

A Final Word

Derived from the word alchemy, our word of the day alchemist is typically defined as a scientist who can allegedly convert any metal into gold. 

Back in the day, those who practiced alchemy believed that lead could be “perfected” into gold, that all illnesses could be cured, and that life could be prolonged through transmutation. 

Although the practice may sound like nonsense, it led to the development of pharmacology and the rise of modern chemistry.


ALCHEMIST: definition | Cambridge English Dictionary 

Best 4 synonyms for alchemist | Thesaurus 

The debt science owes to alchemy | E&T Magazine 

Alchemist definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary