Alembic: A type of still, an apparatus used in the process of distillation. Alembics were employed in chemistry and biomedical laboratories as well as in distilling cognac.
By extension, “alembic” is anything that refines or transmutes as if by distillation. For example, the alembic of the surgeon’s mind.
From the Arabic al-anbiq meaning “the still” from the Greek word for a still (“ambix”). In Europe, the Arabic word was transmuted in Medieval Latin to “alembicum.” and later shortened in English to “alembic.”
- Alexander disease
Alexander disease: A slowly progressive and ultimately fatal brain disorder that most commonly occurs in children. The infantile form of the disease is characterized by megalencephaly (an abnormally large head), seizures, spasticity and developmental retardation. It leads to death usually within the first decade. Patients with the juvenile and adult forms of Alexander disease typically […]
- Alexander technique
Alexander technique: A process that teaches how to properly coordinate body and mind to release harmful tension and to improve posture, coordination and general health. The technique is named for the Australian Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955) who developed it. An actor, Alexander began his career as a Shakespearean orator. He developed chronic laryngitis while performing. […]
Alexia: Loss of the ability to read or understand the written word, due either to brain damage that disconnects these functions or to temporary dysfunction caused by abnormal electrical or chemical activity in the brain.
algia: Word ending indicating pain, as in arthralgia (joint pain), cephalgia (headache), fibromyalgia, mastalgia (breast pain), myalgia (muscle pain), and neuralgia (nerve pain). Derived from the Greek algos meaning pain.
Algophobia: An abnormal and persistent fear of pain. The fear is excessive, beyond that which is expected under the circumstances, producing an anxiety reaction. From the Greek “algos” (pain) and “phobos” (fear). Note that an “algometer” is an instrument for measuring pain (it does so by gauging the smallest pressure that produces pain).