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Elʹements

,

according to Aristotle. Aristotle maintained that there are four elements—fire, air, water, and earth and this assertion has been the subject of very unwise ridicule. Modern chemists maintain the same fact, but have selected four new words for the four old ones, and instead of the term “element,” use “material forms.” We say that matter exists under four forms: the imponderable (caloric), the gaseous (air), the liquid (water), and the solid (earth), and this is all the ancient philosophers meant by their four elements or elemental forms. It was Empedʹoclēs of Sicily who first maintained that fire, air, earth, and water are the four elements: but he called them Zeus, Hera, Gœa, and Poseiʹdon. (Latin, eleo for oleo. Vossius says: ab ant. eleo pro oleo, i.e. cresco, quod omnia crescant ac nascantur.” Latin, elementum. to grow out of.)        

Let us the great philosopher [Aristotle] attend

His elements, ‘Earth, Water, Air, and Fire; …

Tell why these simple elements are four;

Why just so many; why not less or more?”


Blackmore: Creation, v.

1

⁂ The first of these forms—viz. “Caloric,” or the imponderable matter of heat, is now attributed to a mere condition of matter, like motion.

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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Eleatic Philosophy
Elecampane and Amrida
Elector
Electricity (from the Greek elektron, amber)
Electro-Biology
Electro-Chemistry
Electuary
Eleemosynam
Elegant Extracts
Elegiacs
Elements
Elephant
Elephant (The)
Elephant
Elephant Paper
Elephant and Castle
Elephanta
Elephantine
Eleusinian Mysteries
Elevation of the Host (The)
Eleven (Anglo-Saxon, andlefene, ænd = ain, lefene = lef, left)

See Also:

Elements