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ethereal

[ih-theer-ee-uh l]
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adjective
  1. light, airy, or tenuous: an ethereal world created through the poetic imagination.
  2. extremely delicate or refined: ethereal beauty.
  3. heavenly or celestial: gone to his ethereal home.
  4. of or relating to the upper regions of space.
  5. Chemistry. pertaining to, containing, or resembling ethyl ether.
Also ae·the·re·al (for defs 1–4).

Origin of ethereal

1505–15; < Latin aethere(us) (< Greek aithérios), equivalent to aether- ether + -eus adj. suffix + -al1
Related formse·the·re·al·i·ty, e·the·re·al·ness, noune·the·re·al·ly, adverbe·the·re·ous, adjectivenon·e·the·re·al, adjectivenon·e·the·re·al·ly, adverbnon·e·the·re·al·ness, nounnon·e·the·re·al·i·ty, nounun·e·the·re·al, adjectiveun·e·the·re·al·ly, adverbun·e·the·re·al·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ethereal

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Deep were my musings, as to the race and attributes of that ethereal being.

  • She waved her hand to Edgar Vaughan, with a gesture of ethereal triumph.

    Sylph Etherege

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • She had all the ethereal beauty of the saints relieved from their bodies.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • We start off in pursuit of them in an ethereal heaven, in the infinite of our dreams.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • Few of the flowers merely meant for ornament are so ethereal as a potato.

    Alarms and Discursions

    G. K. Chesterton


British Dictionary definitions for ethereal

ethereal

adjective
  1. extremely delicate or refined; exquisite
  2. almost as light as air; impalpable; airy
  3. celestial or spiritual
  4. of, containing, or dissolved in an ether, esp diethyl etheran ethereal solution
  5. of or relating to the ether
Derived Formsethereality or etherealness, nounethereally, adverb

Word Origin

C16: from Latin aethereus, from Greek aitherios, from aithēr ether
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ethereal

adj.

1510s, "of the highest regions of the atmosphere," from ether + -al (1); extended sense of "light, airy" is from 1590s. Meaning "spiritlike, immaterial" is from 1640s. Related: Ethereally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ethereal in Medicine

ethereal

([object Object])
adj.
  1. Characterized by lightness and insubstantiality; intangible.
  2. Of, relating to, or containing ether.
Related formse•the′re•ali•ty (-ălĭ-tē) null n.e•there•al•ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.