ether

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

Essential Meaning of ether

1 : 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
2 : the air : the sky The balloon disappeared into the ether. plucked an answer out of the ether [=out of thin air]

Full 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 ether (audio) \ : a medium that in the wave theory of light permeates all space and transmits transverse waves
b : airwaves

Other Words from ether

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

Examples of ether in a Sentence

The balloon disappeared into the ether.
Recent Examples on the Web In a culture that has historically silenced so many voices, the opportunity to amplify concerns and critiques is critical, but the flip side is the possible fallout and backfire that can occur when anything goes out into the ether. Michelle Konstantinovsky, Glamour, 21 Jan. 2022 That would mean another home game — Jan. 18 against UNLV — could drift into the ether. San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Jan. 2022 Art depicting figures floating in the ether yank the mind from reality. Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times, 6 Jan. 2022 All that time was passing, and there was this thing floating there in the ether. Nate Jones, Vulture, 15 Dec. 2021 Keith Turner, 6th Ward, who ran as a Democrat in 2019, did not express a preference for ether method, but said the voters should decide how their elections should be run. Steve Sadin, chicagotribune.com, 17 Dec. 2021 These ideas reside in the cultural ether, occasionally emerging in the form of ugly jokes, unwanted gropes or racist cartoons. Darcie Vandegrift, The Conversation, 14 Dec. 2021 EtO is a colorless and extremely combustible gas that, in high concentrations, is said to have a sweet, ether-like odor. Peter Andrey Smith, Harper’s Magazine , 7 Dec. 2021 Names like Jennifer Capriati, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras float through the ether, and some of them pop up in spot-on cameos. Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near ether

ethephon

ether

ether alcohol

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Statistics for ether

Last Updated

26 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ether.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ether. Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for ether

ether

noun
\ 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

ether

noun
\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on ether

Nglish: Translation of ether for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ether for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ether

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