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A Narrative Timeline Of AA History

Public Version vApril 04'

Origin of the Word "Alcohol"

A Narrative Timeline Of AA History – 1774 to 2003

 

Origin of the Word "Alcohol"

From the Arabic al-kuhul, a term applied to members of a group of chemical compounds and, in popular usage, to the specific compound ethyl alcohol, or ethanol. The Arabic word denotes kohl, a fine powder of antimony used as an eye makeup. The word alcohol originally denoted any fine powder. The alchemists of medieval Europe later applied it to essences obtained by distillation and this led to the current usage. It was not until the 18th century that the word came to designate the intoxicating ingredient in liquor. (SD xiv, www Encarta)

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