The Incompleat Chymist: Being an Essay on the Eighteenth-Century Chemist in His Laboratory, with a Dictionary of Obsolete Chemical Terms of the Period

Jon Eklund
Smithsonian Studies in History and Technology, Number 33
Smithsonian Institute Press
Washington, DC, 1975


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Dictionary - Part 1 (A-H) Dictionary - Part 2 (I-R) Dictionary -Part 3 (S-Z)

You may wish to consult Carmen Giunta's Glossary of Archaic Chemical Terms for additional information.


Introduction to the Dictionary

Just as Samuel Johnson pointed out that no dictionary of a living language can be perfect, so it must be argued that no dictionary for a living historical discipline will initially be complete or free from errors. The purpose of our dictionary is to make it easier for students to become acquainted with an esoteric and often confused nomenclature in order to more clearly interpret the technical activities of eighteenth-century chemists. This first effort is not truly multilingual, though it includes Latin and French phrases that were common in British journals and treatises. Those who wish to determine French and German equivalents usually can do so by finding parallel sections in the French, English, and German editions of Macquer's original Dictionnaire de Chymie, though it is hoped that an expanded, multilingual edition may be prepared for publication sometime in the future. In any event, readers are encouraged to communicate additions and corrections to the present dictionary.

For a full discussion of the significance of chemical nomenclature in the history of chemistry, the reader is urged to consult Maurice Crosland's classic Historical Studies in the Language of Chemistry.