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Apr 20, 2017
This week’s theme
Well-traveled words

This week’s words
cramoisy
kaput
lilac
alembic
talisman

alembic
Old Midleton Distillery, Cork, Ireland
Photo: Joao Alves

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

alembic

PRONUNCIATION:
(uh-LEM-bik)

MEANING:
noun:
1. An apparatus formerly used in distilling.
2. Something that refines, purifies, or transforms.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Old French, from Latin alembicus, from Arabic al-anbiq (the still), from Greek ambix (cup). Earliest documented use: 1405.

USAGE:
“Don Paterson is a poet who constantly needs and wants to change, whether through pursuing his own intellectual agenda or transformed in the alembic of immersing himself in another poet.”
Stuart Kelly; Found in Translation; The Scotsman (Edinburgh, Scotland); Oct 8, 2006.

“But what was thus refined in the alembic of introspection first had to be gathered by his ‘unrivalled powers of observation’.”
Ekbert Faas; Retreat into the Mind; Princeton University Press; 1988.

See more usage examples of alembic in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
History may be read as the story of the magnificent rearguard action fought during several thousand years by dogma against curiosity. -Robert Lynd, writer (20 Apr 1879-1949)

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