The origin of the name comes from Arabic and is derived from "guhlu" (powdered galena used to colour eyelids and eyelashes). The Arabs called this "kuhul" and it had the meaning of "most beautiful and finest". The term was then also used for liquids that were considered the essence or "spirit" of a substance. The Arabs are also credited with inventing the distillation of alcohol (for medicinal purposes). From this is derived "Al-kuhul-vini", the finest of wine (wine spirit). The naturalist Theophrastus B. Paracelsus (1493-1541) was the first to use the term "spiritus vini" (wine spirit) for the result of a distillation and eventually the terms wine spirit and alcohol acquired identical meanings. Alcool" was first mentioned in writing in Germany in 1597.
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