Definition of ethereal
2a : lacking material substance : immaterial, intangibleb : marked by unusual delicacy or refinement this smallest, most ethereal, and daintiest of birds — William Beebec : suggesting the heavens or heaven
3 : relating to, containing, or resembling a chemical ether
etherealityplay \i-ˌthir-ē-ˈa-lə-tē\ noun
etherealizationplay \i-ˌthir-ē-ə-lə-ˈzā-shən\ noun
etherealizeplay \i-ˈthir-ē-ə-ˌlīz\ transitive verb
ethereallyplay \i-ˈthir-ē-ə-lē\ adverb
ethereal was our Word of the Day on 12/19/2011. Hear the podcast!
Examples of ethereal in a sentence
The windows give the church an ethereal glow.
that ethereal attribute that every performer should have—charisma
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.
First Known Use of ethereal
ETHEREAL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of ethereal for English Language Learners
: in heaven
: resembling heaven : seeming to belong to another world
: very delicate
ETHEREAL Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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