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Today's Word "Elixir"

A magic potion with a miraculous curative or restorative effect on

Published in Vocabulary

elixir \eh-LIK-sehr\ (noun) - 1 : Like the philosopher's stone, a substance believed to have the power to change base metal into gold; 2 : a magic potion with a miraculous curative or restorative effect, sometimes believed to prolong life indefinitely; 3 : a sweetened, flavored base for medicines.

"James was quick to point out that there is no elixir for a lagging economy; and that we must wait for market adjustments to run their course."

 

In Middle English today's word meant "a substance of transmutative properties," borrowed from Old French "elissir" with the same meaning. French inherited the word from Medieval Latin elixir, borrowed in turn from Arabic al-'iksir : al "the" + 'iksir "elixir." Arabic probably borrowed the word from Greek xerion, "powder used for drying wounds" from xeros "dry." "Xeros," of course, you recognize from "Xerox," the company that made the first dry copier. In the first sense, that of the philosopher's stone, today's word is often used with "the," as "A good junk-yard manager is the elixir that turns the basest metal into gold." The British sometimes speak of "Daffy's elixir" in a sense similar to "snake oil" in the USquack medicine. It began as a name of a baby medicine frequently mixed with gin, which led to its being used as a slang name for gin alone.

 

 

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