either

1 of 4

adjective

ei·​ther ˈē-t͟hər How to pronounce either (audio)
also
ˈī- How to pronounce either (audio)
1
: being the one and the other of two : each
flowers blooming on either side of the walk
plays either instrument well
2
: being the one or the other of two
take either road

either

2 of 4

pronoun

: the one or the other
take either of the two routes

either

3 of 4

conjunction

used as a function word before two or more coordinate words, phrases, or clauses joined usually by or to indicate that what immediately follows is the first of two or more alternatives
can be used either as a guest room or as an office

either

4 of 4

adverb

1
: likewise, moreover
used for emphasis after a negative
not smart or handsome either
2
: for that matter
used for emphasis after an alternative following a question or conditional clause especially where negation is implied
who answers for the Irish parliament? or army either?Robert Browning

Examples of either in a Sentence

Adjective French and English are closer to each other than either language is to Chinese. You may take either road. You may choose either answer. Either way is all right with me. Pronoun I haven't written to either of my parents. Adverb you won't convince them, and, in fact, I don't agree either! See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
But some judges criticized the either-jail-or-probation sentencing aspect of the parading charge. Rachel Weiner, Tom Jackman and Spencer S. Hsu, Anchorage Daily News, 10 Jan. 2022
Conjunction
But scientists and doctors say things aren’t that simple — and a belief that exposing children to marijuana, either directly or indirectly, is harmless isn’t supported by the facts. Daniel M. Jimenez, The Cannifornian, 22 June 2017 Consumers face two possible outcomes — insurers will either leave the marketplace or be forced to raise their rates. Bloomberg News, The Denver Post, 5 May 2017 Either the gravitational influence from a passing star or group of stars, or the shock waves from an old exploding star in the distance, stirs up the nebula. Mike Lynch / Sky Watch, Twin Cities, 11 Mar. 2017 Now either the president is flip-flopping or his staff is, once again, speaking out of turn. Alicia Wallace, The Cannabist, 23 Feb. 2017 The tests use either a cheek swab or saliva and return autosomal DNA reports, sampling at more than 700,000 locations along a genome. Katharine Gammon, Orange County Register, 30 Jan. 2017 The quarterbacks are the storyline for the 1:35 p.m. kickoff, but not in the way either team would’ve liked. Jimmy Durkin, The Mercury News, 3 Jan. 2017
Adverb
With this genius design, the colander never has to touch the bottom of your sink, either—perfect for a sink full of dishes from cooking. Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 Feb. 2024 The group hasn’t been without controversy away from the menu either. Byryan Hogg, Fortune Europe, 20 Feb. 2024 The Iraq war shows what happens when neither side knows either. Gideon Rose, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 The then-prince wasn’t the only royal to spend time in the vehicle, either. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 20 Feb. 2024 Sorry, but your laptop battery won't last forever, either. Kim Komando, Fox News, 19 Feb. 2024 The Loan Prime Rate (LPR) will be announced overnight, though it is not expected to be cut, either. Brendan Ahern, Forbes, 19 Feb. 2024 And the two hundred million dollars didn’t exist yet, either. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, 19 Feb. 2024 The symbolism of the punishments cannot be overlooked, either. Ben Protess, New York Times, 16 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'either.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English, from Old English ǣghwæther both, each, from ā always + ge-, collective prefix + hwæther which of two, whether — more at aye, co-

First Known Use

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Pronoun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Conjunction

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Adverb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of either was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near either

Cite this Entry

“Either.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/either. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

either

1 of 4 adjective
ei·​ther ˈē-t͟hər How to pronounce either (audio)
also
ˈī- How to pronounce either (audio)
1
: being the one and the other of two : each
signs on either side of the walk
2
: being the one or the other of two
take either road

either

2 of 4 pronoun
: the one or the other
tell either of my sisters

either

3 of 4 conjunction
used before the first of two or more words or word groups the last of which follows or to show that they are choices or possibilities
a statement is either true or false

either

4 of 4 adverb
1
: likewise sense 2, moreover
used after a negative
not wise or handsome either
2
: so far as that is concerned
used after a choice or possibility following a question or conditional clause
if your father had come or your mother either all would have gone well

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