Pronunciation: (al'ku-mē), [key]
—pl. -mies for 2.
1. a form of chemistry and speculative philosophy practiced in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and concerned principally with discovering methods for transmuting baser metals into gold and with finding a universal solvent and an elixir of life.
2. any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.