Variant of alkali
- any base or hydroxide, as soda, potash, etc. that is soluble in water and gives a high concentration of hydroxyl ions in solution; specif., any of the hydroxides and carbonates of the alkali metals
- any soluble substance, as a mineral salt or mixture of salts, that can neutralize acids, has a pH greater than 7.0, and turns litmus blue: strong alkalies are caustic
Origin: Middle English alkaly ; from Arabic al-qily, for al-qili, the ashes (of saltwort) ; from qalai, to roast inch(es) a pan
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