Definition for CHIM'IST-RY

CHIM'IST-RY, n. [Fr. chimie; Sp. chimia; It. and Port. chimica. The orthography of this word has undergone changes through a mere ignorance of its origin, than which nothing can be more obvious. It is the Arabic كَمَي kamia, the occult art or science, from كَمَي kamai, to conceal. This was originally the art or science now called Alchimy; the art of converting baser metals into gold. The order of Diocletian, directing search to be made for books treating of the wonderful art of making gold and silver, and all that should be found to be committed to the flames, proves the origin of this art to be as remote as the close of the third century, and it was probably somewhat earlier. Gibbon, ch. 13. It is not improbable that this art was used in counterfeiting coins. The common orthography is from χεω, to melt or fuse; the old orthography was from χυω, the same word, differently written; both having no foundation, but a random guess. If lexicographers and writers had been contented to take the orthography of the nations in the South of Europe, where the origin of the word was doubtless understood, and through whom the word was introduced into England, the orthography would have been settled, uniform, and corresponding exactly with the pronunciation.]

Chimistry is a science, the object of which is to discover the nature and properties of all bodies by analysis and synthesis. – Macquer. Chimistry is that science which explains the intimate mutual action of all natural bodies. – Fourcroy. Analysis or decomposition, and synthesis or combination, are the two methods which chimistry uses to accomplish its purposes. – Fourcroy. Hooper. Chimistry may be defined, the science which investigates the composition of material substances, and the permanent changes of constitution which their mutual actions produce. – Ure. Chimistry may be defined, that science, the object of which is to discover and explain the changes of composition that occur among the integrant and constituent parts of different bodies. Henry. Chimistry is the science which treats of those events and changes in natural bodies, which are not accompanied by sensible motions. – Thomson. Chimistry is justly considered as a science, but the practical operations may be denominated an art. Chimistry relates to those operations by which the intimate nature of bodies is changed, or by which they acquire new properties. – Davy.

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