Either Definition

ēthər, īthər
One or the other (of two)
Webster's New World
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
Scarce a palm of ground could be gotten by either of the three.
1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.i.
And either vowd with all their power and wit, / To let not others honour be defaste […]
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894)
There have been three talkers in Great British, either of whom would illustrate what I say about dogmatists.
The first element of the pair of disjunctive correlatives either … or, implying a choice of alternatives [either go or stay]
Bring either cookies, doughnuts, or some other kind of pastry.
Webster's New World
Used before the first of two or more coordinates or clauses linked by or:
Either we go now or we remain here forever.
American Heritage
One or the other (of two)
Use either hand.
Webster's New World
Each (of two); the one and the other.
He had a tool in either hand.
Webster's New World
Likewise; also. Used as an intensive following negative statements.
If you don't order a dessert, I won't either.
American Heritage
Any more than the other; also.
If you don't go, I won't either.
Webster's New World
Certainly; indeed.
“It's mine.” “It isn't either!”
Webster's New World
(conjunctive, after a negative) As well.
I don't like him and I don't like her either.
Each of two. [from 9th c.]
One or the other of two. [from 14th c.]
(coordinating) Used before two or more not necessarily exclusive possibilities separated by "or" or sometimes by a comma.
You'll either be early, late, or on time.

Origin of Either

  • Old English ǣġhwæþer, from Proto-Germanic, ultimately corresponding to ay + whether. Akin to Old Saxon eogihwethar, iahwethar; Old Dutch *iogewether, *iowether, *iother (Dutch ieder); Old High German eogihwedar, iegihweder, ieweder (German jeder).

    From Wiktionary

  • Middle English from Old English ǣther, ǣghwæther kwo- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

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