ethereal

adjective
ethe·​re·​al | \ i-ˈthir-ē-əl How to pronounce ethereal (audio) \

Definition of ethereal

1a : of or relating to the regions beyond the earth
2a : lacking material substance : immaterial, intangible
b : marked by unusual delicacy or refinement this smallest, most ethereal, and daintiest of birds— William Beebe
c : suggesting the heavens or heaven
3 : relating to, containing, or resembling a chemical ether

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Other Words from ethereal

ethereality \ i-​ˌthir-​ē-​ˈa-​lə-​tē How to pronounce ethereality (audio) \ noun
etherealization \ i-​ˌthir-​ē-​ə-​lə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce etherealization (audio) \ noun
etherealize \ i-​ˈthir-​ē-​ə-​ˌlīz How to pronounce etherealize (audio) \ transitive verb
ethereally \ i-​ˈthir-​ē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce ethereally (audio) \ adverb
etherealness noun

Did You Know?

If you're burning to know the history of "ethereal," you're in the right spirit to fully understand that word's etymology. The ancient Greeks believed that the Earth was composed of earth, air, fire, and water, but that the heavens and its denizens were made of a purer, less tangible substance known as either "ether" or "quintessence." Ether was often described as an invisible light or fire, and its name derives from the Greek aithein, a verb meaning "to ignite" or "to blaze." When "ethereal," the adjective kin of "ether," debuted in English in the 1500s, it referred specifically to regions beyond the Earth, but it gradually came to refer to anything heavenly or airy.

Examples of ethereal in a Sentence

The windows give the church an ethereal glow. that ethereal attribute that every performer should have—charisma

Recent Examples on the Web

In addition to wedding dresses, BHLDN also carries tons of ethereal formal gowns perfect for prom. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "All the Best Places to Shop for Prom Dresses in New York City," 29 Jan. 2019 For the occasion, the Duchess chose to wear a Brock Collection taffeta dress, covered in a delicate floral pattern with a romantic and ethereal vibe that's not quite her normal style. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle's Floral Brock Collection Dress is Such a Different Look for the Duchess," 18 Dec. 2018 Pisces Venus The last sign of the zodiac, the Pisces spirit is mystical and ethereal. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What the Position of Venus in Your Birth Chart Means for You," 31 July 2018 Kim Krumm Sorenson's costumes are both traditional and ethereal. Laura Demarco, cleveland.com, "Great Lakes Theater's magnificent "Macbeth": Traditional, inspired, relevant (review)," 6 Apr. 2018 Mandy Moore's surprise backyard wedding to Taylor Goldsmith over the weekend had an ethereal quality—from the dreamy pink tulle gown by Rodarte to the fresh, glowy makeup and the sweet veil. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "All the Details on Mandy Moore's Gorgeous Wedding Makeup," 20 Nov. 2018 Bone Jolly Gamay Noir El Dorado County 2016 ($22): From the Barsotti Vineyard, this ethereal wine glows, its hue a nearly translucent magenta. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "Tasting Notes: Your guide to the wines of Edmunds St. John," 12 Mar. 2018 Until now, Grimes’s aesthetic could best be described as otherworldly fairy meets neo-Renaissance princess—her past music videos feature gowns fit for Marie Antoinette, ethereal white slip dresses, and even hot pink cowboy hats. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Grimes Undergoes a Futuristic Style Transformation for Her New Video," 29 Nov. 2018 Welch's vocals were ethereal and soared throughout the track, pairing well with the harp featured on the live performance. Alessandra Rincón, Billboard, "Florence + The Machine Give Spectacular Performance At SiriusXM: Watch," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ethereal.' 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 ethereal

1522, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for ethereal

Last Updated

27 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for ethereal

The first known use of ethereal was in 1522

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More Definitions for ethereal

ethereal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of ethereal

formal
: in heaven
: resembling heaven : seeming to belong to another world
: very delicate

ethereal

adjective
ethe·​re·​al | \ i-ˈthir-ē-əl How to pronounce ethereal (audio) \

Kids Definition of ethereal

1 : suggesting heaven or the heavens ethereal music
2 : very delicate : airy

ethereal

adjective
ethe·​re·​al | \ i-ˈthir-ē-əl How to pronounce ethereal (audio) \

Medical Definition of ethereal

: relating to, containing, or resembling a chemical ether

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More from Merriam-Webster on ethereal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ethereal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ethereal

Spanish Central: Translation of ethereal

Nglish: Translation of ethereal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ethereal for Arabic Speakers

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