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aether

[ee-ther] /ˈi θər/
noun
1.
ether (defs 3–5).
2.
(initial capital letter) the ancient Greek personification of the clear upper air of the sky.
Related forms
aethereal
[ih-theer-ee-uh l] /ɪˈθɪər i əl/ (Show IPA),
aetheric
[ih-ther-ik] /ɪˈθɛr ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective

ethereal

[ih-theer-ee-uh l] /ɪˈθɪər i əl/
adjective
1.
light, airy, or tenuous:
an ethereal world created through the poetic imagination.
2.
extremely delicate or refined:
ethereal beauty.
3.
heavenly or celestial:
gone to his ethereal home.
4.
of or pertaining to the upper regions of space.
5.
Chemistry. pertaining to, containing, or resembling ethyl ether.
Also, aethereal (for defs 1–4).
Origin
1505-1515
1505-15; < Latin aethere(us) (< Greek aithérios), equivalent to aether- ether + -eus adj. suffix + -al1
Related forms
ethereality, etherealness, noun
ethereally, adverb
ethereous, adjective
nonethereal, adjective
nonethereally, adverb
nonetherealness, noun
nonethereality, noun
unethereal, adjective
unethereally, adverb
unetherealness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for aethereal

aethereal

/ɪˈθɪərɪəl/
adjective
1.
a variant spelling of ethereal (sense 1), ethereal (sense 2), ethereal (sense 3)
Derived Forms
aethereality (ɪˌθɪərɪˈælɪtɪ) noun
aethereally, adverb

aether

/ˈiːθə/
noun
1.
a variant spelling of ether (sense 3), ether (sense 4), ether (sense 5)

ethereal

/ɪˈθɪərɪəl/
adjective
1.
extremely delicate or refined; exquisite
2.
almost as light as air; impalpable; airy
3.
celestial or spiritual
4.
of, containing, or dissolved in an ether, esp diethyl ether: an ethereal solution
5.
of or relating to the ether
Derived Forms
ethereality, etherealness, noun
ethereally, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin aethereus, from Greek aitherios, from aithērether
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for aethereal

ethereal

adj.

1510s, "of the highest regions of the atmosphere," from ether + -al (1); extended sense of "light, airy" is from 1590s. Meaning "spiritlike, immaterial" is from 1640s. Related: Ethereally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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aethereal in Medicine

ethereal e·the·re·al (ĭ-thēr'ē-əl)
adj.

  1. Characterized by lightness and insubstantiality; intangible.

  2. Of, relating to, or containing ether.


e·the're·al'i·ty (-āl'ĭ-tē) or e·the're·al·ness n.
e·the're·al·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for aethereal

aether

in physics, a theoretical, universal substance believed during the 19th century to act as the medium for transmission of electromagnetic waves (e.g., light and X rays) much as sound waves are transmitted by elastic media such as air. The ether was assumed to be weightless, transparent, frictionless, undetectable chemically or physically, and literally permeating all matter and space. The theory met with increasing difficulties as the nature of light and the structure of matter became better understood; it was seriously weakened (1881) by the Michelson-Morley experiment (q.v.), which was designed specifically to detect the motion of the Earth through the ether and which showed that there was no such effect

Learn more about aether with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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