- Ether is defined as a clear, flammable liquid used as an aesthetic, or the upper sky beyond the clouds.
- A clear liquid used as anesthetic is an example of ether.
- When a balloon floats up high into the sky and disappears beyond the clouds, this is an example of a situation where it disappears into the ether.
- a substance hypothesized by the ancients as filling all space beyond the sphere of the moon, and making up the stars and planets
- the upper regions of space; clear sky
- Rare the air
- Chem. any of a series of organic compounds having an oxygen atom linking two carbon atoms from two hydrocarbon radicals, generally ROR; esp., ethyl ether, a volatile, colorless, highly flammable liquid, HCOCH, prepared by the reaction of sulfuric acid and ethyl alcohol and used as an anesthetic and a solvent for resins and fats
- Physics a hypothetical diffuse, invisible medium formerly thought to pervade space and transmit light, heat, etc.
Origin of etherMiddle English ; from Classical Latin aether ; from Classical Greek aithēr ; from aithein, to kindle, burn ; from Indo-European base an unverified form aidh- from source Classical Latin aestas, summer, Old English ætan, to burn
- Any of a class of organic compounds in which two hydrocarbon groups are linked by an oxygen atom.
- A volatile, highly flammable liquid, C4H10O, derived from distilling ethyl alcohol with sulfuric acid, used as a reagent and solvent, and formerly used as an anesthetic. Also called diethyl ether, ethyl ether.
- The regions of space beyond the earth's atmosphere; the heavens.
- The element believed in ancient and medieval civilizations to fill all space above the sphere of the moon and to compose the stars and planets.
- Physics An all-pervading, infinitely elastic, massless medium formerly postulated as the medium of propagation of electromagnetic waves.
Origin of etherMiddle English, upper air, from Latin aethēr, from Greek aithēr.
(countable and uncountable, plural ethers)
- (organic chemistry, countable) A compound containing an oxygen atom bonded to two hydrocarbon groups.
- (organic chemistry, uncountable) Diethyl ether (C4H10O), a compound used as an early anaesthetic.
- (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.
- (archaic, 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).
- (poetic or literary) The sky or heavens; the upper air.
From Old French ether, from Latin aether (“the upper pure, bright air”), from Ancient Greek αἰθήρ (aithēr, “upper air”), from αἴθω (aithō, “I burn, shine”).
ether - Computer Definition
Luminiferous ether. The omnipresent passive medium once thought to pervade all space and to support the propagation of electromagnetic energy, even through a vacuum.The existence of the ether was disproved around 1900 by a number of scientists, including Albert Einstein, Albert A. Michaelson, and Edward W. Morley. In 1973, Robert Metcalfe chose the name Ethernet to describe the local area network (LAN) technology he and his associates invented at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (Xerox PARC). See also Ethernet; LAN; Metcalfe, Robert M.; and Xerox PARC.
(1) An invisible medium through which all light, heat and electromagnetic waves propagate. Pronounced "ee-ther" with the "th" as in the word "thought," ether was postulated from the 1600s to the 1800s. The word inspired the name Ethernet.
(2) A group of chemical compounds, the most popular of which is the colorless and transparent diethyl ether, used as a solvent and anesthetic. Diethyl ether was synthesized in the 1500s and named "ether" in the 1700s.