|1.||an alchemical preparation supposed to be capable of prolonging life indefinitely (elixir of life) or of transmuting base metals into gold|
|2.||anything that purports to be a sovereign remedy; panacea|
|3.||an underlying principle; quintessence|
|4.||a liquid containing a medicinal drug with syrup, glycerine, or alcohol added to mask its unpleasant taste|
|[C14: from Medieval Latin, from Arabic al iksīr the elixir, probably from Greek xērion powder used for drying wounds, from xēros dry]|
elixir e·lix·ir (ĭ-lĭk'sər)
A sweetened aromatic solution of alcohol and water, serving as a vehicle for medicine.
elixir of life
in alchemy, substance thought to be capable of changing base metals into gold. The same term, more fully elixir vitae, "elixir of life," was given to the substance that would indefinitely prolong life-a liquid that was believed to be allied with the philosopher's stone. Chinese Taoists not only sought the "pill of immortality" but developed techniques (meditation, breathing exercises, diet) that were thought to confer immortality by internal alchemy.
Learn more about elixir of life with a free trial on Britannica.com.