• (RP) IPA: /ɪˈθɪə.ɹi.əl/
  • (America) IPA: /ɪˈθɪɹ.i.əl/, /əˈθɪɹ.i.əl/


  1. Pertaining to the hypothetical upper, purer air, or to the higher regions beyond the earth or beyond the atmosphere; celestial; otherworldly.
    ethereal space ethereal regions
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book VII”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗, lines 1282–1284:
      Since to part, / Go heavenly Gueſt, Ethereal Meſſenger, / Sent from whoſe ſovran goodneſs I adore.
    • 1862: Thoreau, [ Walking].
      I trust that we shall be more imaginative, that our thoughts will be clearer, fresher, and more ethereal, as our sky,...
  2. Consisting of ether; hence, exceedingly light or airy; tenuous; spiritlike; characterized by extreme delicacy, as form, manner, thought, etc.
    • 1733, [Alexander Pope], An Essay on Man. […], epistle I, London: Printed for J[ohn] Wilford, […], OCLC 960856019 ↗, lines 237–239, page 14 ↗:
      Vaſt chain of being ! which from God began, / Ethereal Eſſence, Spirit, Subſtance, Man, / Beaſt, Bird, Fiſh, Inſect ! [...]
  3. Delicate, light and airy.
  4. (chemistry) To do with ether.
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