• A distilling apparatus, now obsolete, consisting of a rounded, necked flask and a cap with a long beak for condensing and conveying the products to a receiver.

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Example Sentences

“The copper alembic is the most expensive part of my home-distilling equipment.”

“Perhaps my ancestors used one to make moonshine, but I use an alembic to distill essential oils.”

“I found a gorgeous antique alembic at the flea market, but I don’t have any use for it.”

Word Origin

Latin, 15th century

Why this word?

An alembic is a distinctive-looking gourd-shaped flask that has little modern usage, but it used to be much more prized. Alchemists, or medieval scientists with a quest to discover how to turn other metals into gold, were frequently associated with the equipment. Literature from the 16th and 17th centuries documents many more pedestrian distilling functions for alembics, and specimens made from glass, ceramic, and other materials from around the same time have been found in the ground in Great Britain.

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