Alembic


Alembic

An alembic (from Arabic "Al-inbiq" الأنبيق) is an alchemical still consisting of two retorts connected by a tube. Technically, the alembic is only the upper part (the "capital" or "still-head"), while the lower part is the cucurbit, but the word was often used to refer to the entire distillation apparatus. The alembic was developed circa 800 AD by the Arabic alchemist, Jabir ibn Hayyan (known as "Geber" in the West); its modern descendant (used to produce alcohol) is the pot still.

The word "alembic" has taken on a metaphorical meaning - anything that refines or s, as if by distillation - as in "the alembic of creative thought."

The word, as most alchemical terminology, comes from the Arabic: "al-inbiq", "still;" ultimately from the Greek "ambix", "cup."

The French spelling "alambic" is also commonly used, especially as the apparatus is often associated with Cognac where it is known as "alambic charentaise". Charente is the area where the grapes must be grown and the brandy itself produced in order to be rightfully called "Cognac".

The alembic symbol is Unicode U+2697 ALEMBIC (unicode|⚗).

ee also

*Pot still
*Retort
*Distilled beverage


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  • Alembic — A*lem bic ([.a]*l[e^]m b[i^]k), n. [F. alambic (cf. Sp. alambique), Ar. al anb[=i]q, fr. Gr. a mbix cup, cap of a still. The cap or head was the alembic proper. Cf. {Limbec}.] An apparatus formerly used in distillation, usually made of glass or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Alembic — (Alambik, arab. franz.), der Helm der alten Destillationsapparate …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • alembic — ALEMBIC. Voyez Alambic …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • alembic — (n.) late 14c., from M.Fr. alambic (13c.), via Old Spanish, from Arabic al anbiq distilling flask, from Gk. ambix cup, of unknown, possibly Semitic, origin. Often spelled limbeck 15c. 17c …   Etymology dictionary

  • alembic — Alembic, Chapelle de voirre à distiller eaües, Clibanus vitreus …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • alembic — [ə lem′bik] n. [ME & OFr alambic < ML alambicus < Ar al anbīq < al, the + anbīq, distilling flask < Gr ambix, a cup] 1. an apparatus of glass or metal, like a retort, formerly used for distilling 2. anything that refines or purifies …   English World dictionary

  • Alembic — A type of still, an apparatus used in the process of distillation. Alembics were employed in chemistry and biomedical laboratories as well as in distilling cognac. By extension, alembic is anything that refines or transmutes as if by distillation …   Medical dictionary

  • Alembic —  Ne doit pas être confondu avec Alambic. Guitare Basse customisée Alembic Dragon s Breath Alembic Inc., est un fabricant américain de guitares électrique …   Wikipédia en Français

  • alembic — noun Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French alambic & Medieval Latin alembicum, from Arabic al anbīq, from al the + anbīq still, from Late Greek ambik , ambix alembic, from Greek, cap of a still Date: 14th… …   New Collegiate Dictionary


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