hy·​pae·​thral hī-ˈpē-thrəl How to pronounce hypaethral (audio)
: having a roofless central space
hypaethral temple
: open to the sky

Did you know?

Ancient Roman architect and engineer Vitruvius used the Latin word hypaethrus to describe temples in which the "cella" (the part of the temple housing an image of the deity) was wholly or partially uncovered. "Hypaethrus" is a word sculpted from the Greek prefix hypo-, meaning "under or beneath," and the Greek word aithēr, meaning "air or heaven." In the late-18th century, English classicists adopted the remodeled form "hypaethral" in their writings of ancient architecture. Another adjective that they occasionally employed is "cleithral," which designates temples having roofed central spaces. ("Cleithral" comes from "kleithra," the Greek word for "lattice.")

Word History


Latin hypaethrus exposed to the open air, from Greek hypaithros, from hypo- + aithēr ether, air — more at ether

First Known Use

1794, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hypaethral was in 1794


Dictionary Entries Near hypaethral

Cite this Entry

“Hypaethral.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypaethral. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

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