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[ih-theer-ee-uh l] /ɪˈθɪər i əl/
light, airy, or tenuous:
an ethereal world created through the poetic imagination.
extremely delicate or refined:
ethereal beauty.
heavenly or celestial:
gone to his ethereal home.
of or relating to the upper regions of space.
Chemistry. pertaining to, containing, or resembling ethyl ether.
Also, aethereal (for defs 1–4)
Origin of ethereal
1505-15; < Latin aethere(us) (< Greek aithérios), equivalent to aether- ether + -eus adj. suffix + -al1
Related forms
ethereality, etherealness, noun
ethereally, adverb
ethereous, adjective
nonethereal, adjective
nonethereally, adverb
nonetherealness, noun
nonethereality, noun
unethereal, adjective
unethereally, adverb
unetherealness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ethereally
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was drunk, ethereally drunk with the beauty of the night and with love.

    If You Touch Them They Vanish Gouverneur Morris
  • He turned his head, and saw a dim, ethereally white figure,—Rose.

    'Smiles' Eliot H. Robinson
  • All the girls were beautiful—delicately, ethereally beautiful.

    The House of Pride Jack London
  • She was ethereally slender, brown-eyed, brown-haired, brown-skinned.

  • Where were the flames that had sung to me ethereally before?

    Children of the Market Place

    Edgar Lee Masters
  • She had numerous chins, but, imbedded in flesh, one could still trace a likeness to an ethereally fair daughter.

    Lady Cassandra Mrs George de Horne Vaizey
  • The colour sank back out of her face, and the light from the window rested on it ethereally.

    Hilda Sarah Jeanette Duncan
  • Elsa ran to the door and stood motionless by the jamb, waiting, ethereally white in the moonshine.

    Parrot & Co.

    Harold MacGrath
  • The portrait is so ethereally tinted and so firmly modeled that we seem to be looking at a study painted by a lover from the life.

British Dictionary definitions for ethereally


extremely delicate or refined; exquisite
almost as light as air; impalpable; airy
celestial or spiritual
of, containing, or dissolved in an ether, esp diethyl ether: an ethereal solution
of or relating to the ether
Derived Forms
ethereality, etherealness, noun
ethereally, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin aethereus, from Greek aitherios, from aithērether
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
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Word Origin and History for ethereally



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
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ethereally in Medicine

ethereal e·the·re·al (ĭ-thēr'ē-əl)

  1. Characterized by lightness and insubstantiality; intangible.

  2. Of, relating to, or containing ether.

e·the're·al'i·ty (-āl'ĭ-tē) or e·the're·al·ness n.
e·the're·al·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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