Definition of alkahest in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈalkəˌhest/
(also alcahest)


The hypothetical universal solvent sought by alchemists.
Example sentences
  • The philosopher's stone, the alcahest and the elixir were names of one and the same thing, and were supposed to accomplish an identical operation.
  • Alizarin is an orange or red crystalline compound and alkahest is the universal solvent believed by alchemists to exist.
  • A paradox involving alkahest is that, if it dissolves everything, then it cannot be placed into a container, because it would dissolve the container.


Mid 17th century: sham Arabic, probably invented by Paracelsus.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: al·ka·hest

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.