A medieval forerunner of chemistry and speculative philosophy concerned with the transmutation of matter to discover a universal elixir.
So what does that exactly mean, what is the definition telling us?
Well, first and foremost that alchemy is old, appearing before the 5th century around the time of the late Roman Empire, and that it is a physical practice that led to the study of composition, structure, properties and change of matter that we scientifically know today as chemistry.
Secondly, alchemy is a philosophy relating to what can be known through an understanding of how certain things work rather than by observation. Merriam Webster takes this understanding a little further by introducing the concept of ‘power’ in relation to transmutation
“A power or process of transforming something common into something special”.