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See also: Ether, éther, and eþer


English Wikipedia has an article on:

Alternative forms[edit]

  • aether (British spelling, obsolete in chemistry), æther (dated British spelling), aethyr, ethyr (archaic spellings)


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈiː.θə/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈiː.θɚ/
  • (file)
Rhymes: -iːθə(r)

Etymology 1[edit]

Borrowed from Old French ether, from Latin aethēr (the upper pure, bright air), from Ancient Greek αἰθήρ (aithḗr, upper air), from αἴθω (aíthō, I burn, shine).


ether (countable and uncountable, plural ethers)

  1. (organic chemistry, countable) A compound containing an oxygen atom bonded to two hydrocarbon groups.
  2. (organic chemistry, uncountable) Diethyl ether (C4H10O), a compound used as an early anaesthetic.
  3. (ancient philosophy and alchemy, uncountable) A classical physical element, considered as prevalent in the heavens and inaccessible to humans. In some versions of alchemy, this was the fifth element in addition to air, earth, fire and water.
  4. (historical, physics, uncountable) A substance (aether) once thought to fill all space that allowed electromagnetic waves to pass through it and interact with matter, without exerting any resistance to matter or energy (disproved by Einstein in his Theory of Relativity).
    • 2013 June 14, Jonathan Freedland, “Obama's once hip brand is now tainted”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 1, page 18:
      Now we are liberal with our innermost secrets, spraying them into the public ether with a generosity our forebears could not have imagined. Where we once sent love letters in a sealed envelope, or stuck photographs of our children in a family album, now such private material is despatched to servers and clouds operated by people we don't know and will never meet.
  5. (poetic or literary) The sky or heavens; the upper air.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

Hip hop slang. Originates from song by Nas, Ether (song).


ether (third-person singular simple present ethers, present participle ethering, simple past and past participle ethered)

  1. (transitive, slang) To viciously insult.
    The battle rapper ethered his opponent and caused him to slink away in shame.

For quotations of use of this term, see Citations:ether.





ether m (plural ethers)

  1. (broadcasting) air, broadcasting
    De televisieaanbieder gaat digitale televisie via de ether uitzenden. The television provider is going to broadcast digital television over the air.
  2. ether

Derived terms[edit]




ether m (plural etheres)

  1. Obsolete spelling of éter (used in Portugal until September 1911 and died out in Brazil during the 1920s).