\ ˈē-thər How to pronounce ether (audio) \

Definition of ether

1a : the rarefied element formerly believed to fill the upper regions of space
b : the upper regions of space : heavens
2a : a light volatile flammable liquid C4H10O used chiefly as a solvent and especially formerly as an anesthetic
b : any of a class of organic compounds characterized by an oxygen atom attached to two carbon atoms
3a or less commonly aether \ ˈē-​thər How to pronounce aether (audio) \ : a medium that in the wave theory of light permeates all space and transmits transverse waves

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Other Words from ether

etheric \ i-​ˈther-​ik How to pronounce etheric (audio) , -​ˈthir-​ \ adjective

Examples of ether in a Sentence

The balloon disappeared into the ether.
Recent Examples on the Web The outcome could be critical for bitcoin, ether and scores of other cryptocurrencies that the market values in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Joe Lightbloomberg, Los Angeles Times, "Cryptocurrency lobby fights to contain backlash from Facebook’s Libra," 28 Aug. 2019 Hawkfelon Stringle-Blow spends most of the first episode in a coma before vanishing into the ether. Peter Opaskar, Ars Technica, "Forget Top Gun: Maverick—let’s settle Blue Thunder vs. Airwolf once and for all," 10 Jan. 2020 But there’s a melancholic layer to it, too, with vocals echoing like a beloved memory fading into the ether. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 50 Best Dance Songs of 2019: Staff List," 20 Dec. 2019 The tweets go out into the ether and dissipate like fog. Letter Writers, Twin Cities, "Letters: New recycling mantra might discourage recycling," 14 Dec. 2019 Reuters additionally reported that Griffith may have planned to send mining equipment to North Korea, ostensibly so the government or others could generate their own ether. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "Bitcoin money laundering is a classically dumb crime," 5 Dec. 2019 Perhaps more voices — in welcome, glorious tension — will form a whole chorus, rising up into the ether toward a worthier aim. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "Douglas Murray’s The Madness of Crowds Offers Sanity and Hope," 24 Oct. 2019 Like the helixes your solar system makes spiraling through the ether. Paul Salopek, National Geographic, "Following a river of questions in eastern India," 16 Oct. 2019 The other images, the great majority of them, the ether and the cloud only know how many millions of images, were shot with phone cameras by the people who really had to live through the combat. Wired, "The First Smartphone War," 5 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ether.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ether

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for ether

Middle English, from Latin aether, from Greek aithēr, from aithein to ignite, blaze; akin to Old English ād pyre — more at edify

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Time Traveler for ether

Time Traveler

The first known use of ether was in the 14th century

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Statistics for ether

Last Updated

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ether.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce ether (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ether

: a liquid that burns easily, that is used to turn solid substances into liquid, and that was used in medicine in the past to prevent patients from feeling pain during operations
: the air : the sky


\ ˈē-thər How to pronounce ether (audio) \

Kids Definition of ether

: a light flammable liquid used to dissolve fats and especially in the past as an anesthetic


\ ˈē-thər How to pronounce ether (audio) \

Medical Definition of ether

1 : a medium that in the wave theory of light permeates all space and transmits transverse waves
2a : a light volatile flammable liquid C4H10O used especially formerly chiefly as an anesthetic

called also diethyl ether, ethyl ether, ethyl oxide

b : any of various organic compounds characterized by an oxygen atom attached to two carbon atoms

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More from Merriam-Webster on ether

Spanish Central: Translation of ether

Nglish: Translation of ether for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ether for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about ether

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